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Mae West as Lady Lou: 5 Quotes About Iconic Role

By    |   Thursday, 14 May 2015 11:15 AM

Before becoming the larger-than-life figure that she would become in films, Mae West made a name for herself through a number of different roles on the vaudeville and Broadway stages.

Her performances, some of which were even written by her, included some that pushed against the barriers for what was considered decent in the 1920s and 1930s.

One such role was that of Diamond Lil in the stage play of the same name. Once she became a movie actress, she brought Diamond Lil with her, albeit in a tamer form. Thus was born her character of Lady Lou in the film "She Done Him Wrong," which paired West with Cary Grant, Owen Moore, and Noah Beery Sr.

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The role became a signature role for West, and served as the basis for the roles she would play during the remainder of the decade. Here is a look at what some reviewers had to say about West and the film.

1. The New York Times in its review said that there is really only one reason to see this film: West.

"Miss West gives a highly amusing performance, which necessarily overshadows the commendable efforts of Gary Grant, Noah Beery, Owen Moore, David Landau, and Rafaela Ottiano. Lowell Sherman's direction is light and fast." – Andre Sennwald, The New York Times, Feb. 10, 1933

2. The staff at Variety did not think much of the film of West's acting, but that did not mean that they didn't like everything they saw.

"The locale, the clothes, and the types are interesting, and so is Miss West in her picture hats, straight jacket gowns and with so much jewelry that she looks like a Knickerbocker ice plant. But Miss West is chiefly interesting because she looks nice and youthful, and nice and thin." – Variety staff, Feb. 14, 1933

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3. In writing a preview of some of West's movies for an upcoming film festival, Ken Hanke of the Asheville (North Carolina) Mountain Xpressstates that even nearly 80 years later, West's persona and ability still shine through.

"West’s first starring film "She Done Him Wrong" is another matter altogether. It’s full-fledged Mae West and in many ways her best film." – Hanke, Aug. 10, 2010

4. Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader gives readers a history lesson about West's performance in the movie.

"A superior vehicle for Mae West, based on her stage success. There's nothing subtle, though, about West's rendition of "Where Has My Easy Rider Gone?" a number sometimes accused of having single-handedly brought back censorship." – Kehr, Jan. 11, 2008

5 .TV Guide noted that the women's liberation movement could offer a tip of the hat to West's Lady Lou.

"West's Lou must rank as one of the first truly liberated women ever seen onscreen as she runs a Bowery saloon, fronting for owner Noah Beery, Sr." – TV Guide review, July 30, 2003

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Before becoming the larger-than-life figure that she would become in films, Mae West made a name for herself through a number of different roles on the vaudeville and Broadway stages.
mae west, iconic role, quotes, lady lou
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2015-15-14
Thursday, 14 May 2015 11:15 AM
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