Customer Reviews: She Done Him Wrong
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on January 18, 2008
I greet the release of She Done Him Wrong on DVD with mixed emotions.

First, my review of the film - She Done Him Wrong was Mae West's personal favorite among her 12 movies, and 75 years after its release, it is still considered a classic by most critics and many fans. The film is often credited with saving Paramount Studios from bankruptcy, and made Mae West the box-office sensation of 1933. Thanks to this film, the phrase, "Come up and see me sometime" entered the language and immortalized a woman now long-revered for her comic timing and salty double-entendres (although her most famous phrase was something of a misquote; her actual line to Cary Grant was, "Why don't `cha come up sometime, see me? Don't be afraid, I won't tell. Come up, I'll tell your fortune. Ooohh, you can be had!"). Based on her notorious Broadway smash Diamond Lil, Miss West was forced to change the lead character's name (if not the basic plot) to appease the censors, and Diamond Lil became Lady Lou, "One of the finest women ever walked the streets". Peppered with hilarious bons mots such as, "When women go wrong, men go right after them", the script, which she wrote herself, contains more wit in each scene than some modern so-called comedies have in a whole movie. For a film that runs a mere 62 minutes, it's packed with fun, drama, wonderful period atmosphere and great performances from an ensemble cast, many of whom appeared in the stage version. Mae's sultry singing of the song, "A Guy What Takes His Time" was so suggestive that the censors removed all but one verse of it from her filmed rendition, although she managed somehow to simultaneously release it on a 78 record that contained verse after verse of uncensored, ribald, raw sexuality.

While I am thrilled to finally have this movie available on DVD, it dashes my hopes that some of Mae West's more obscure films will ever find a digital release.

Universal Studios (who owns the rights to all Paramount titles) previously released on individual DVD's only three Mae West classic titles: I'm No Angel (1933), Belle of the Nineties (1934), and Klondike Annie (1937). Each of these early DVD releases has been long out of print. Early in 2005, My Little Chickadee (1940) was released as part of the W. C. Fields collection, and later that year, Universal released five titles in the "Mae West Glamour Collection", Night After Night (1932), Go West, Young Man (1935), Goin' To Town (1936) and the previously mentioned I'm No Angel and My Little Chickadee. I was hoping that a "Mae West Glamour Collection, Volume Two" would eventually contain the out-of-print Belle of the Nineties and Klondike Annie, along with She Done Him Wrong, and her remaining two classic films, Every Day's A Holiday (1937) and the rarely seen, The Heat's On (1943), both of which have never been on DVD at all. Curiously enough, the UK version of the Mae West Classic Collection included The Heat's On, although it was originally released by Columbia; I guess this means that Universal does have the rights. BUT, the release of She Done Him Wrong as a single DVD has now dashed my hopes that the other classic titles will ever be released. This is a pity. Some critics - and I concur - consider Klondike Annie (more of a drama than a comedy) to be Mae's finest effort, and Every Day's A Holiday is one of her more hilarious outings on celluloid.

I am hoping against hope that this release signals the forthcoming issue of the few of Mae West's classics that have not been seen in a digital format, but only time will tell.
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Mae West had a Broadway smash when she penned the bawdy tale of DIAMOND LIL for herself--and with a few tweaks here and there the story came to the screen as SHE DONE HIM WRONG. The film was an immediate hit and the role of Lady Lou remains one of West's best remembered performances. The script is jam-packed with some of West's most famous lines, including the memorable "Come up'n see me sometime. I'm home every evenin'" and "You can be had." West throws her lines with style, aplomb, enough innuendo to make a censor cringe, and considerable humor--but, somewhat surprisingly, the movie is not really a comedy.
SHE DONE HIM WRONG is a hard-knocks tale of Bowery bruisers who dance attendance upon the 'Lady Lou' and often resort to crime to keep her dripping in the diamonds she prizes above all else. But although she has one lover already locked up in jail, another one mixed up in the white slavery rackets, and still a third waiting to step into the gap, the Lady Lou is more interested in seducing missionary Cary Grant... only to find him less interested in her body than her soul, a circumstance that prompts West to utter one of the most how-did-that-get-past-the-censors lines in 1930s cinema: "Maybe I ain't got no soul."
This is a surprisingly tough little movie, and in addition to West's zinging lines and occasional musical numbers SHE DONE HIM WRONG also offers a glimpse at a very young (and still slightly wooden) Cary Grant; it also has an ensemble cast that plays in a very enjoyable grand manner, truly first rate production values all the way, and A surprisingly brisk running time. West did funnier films than this, but the mix of her sharp wit and the rough story is particularly memorable. This is where the fire started really started, and I recommend it very strongly.
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on May 11, 2001
Mae West was a veteran of burlesque, vaudeville and the Broadway stage by the time she made her first film in 1932 at the age of 39. "She Done Him Wrong" was her second film and her first starring role in an adaptation of her smash Broadway hit "Diamond Lil". It was a play that West had written herself and it played to packed houses on Broadway for years. This film was nominated for an Academy Award for best picture and made Cary Grant into an instant star. Mae went on to write nine of the fourteen screenplays for films in which she was to star. Thus, all those great quotes we've heard that are attributed to her were not only said by her, but written by her as well. By 1935, she was the most highly paid woman in America. To this day, she remains one of the female stars most often imitated by female impersonators.
This film is among her best. It is full of the bawdy double entendre that became her trademark. She was the queen of sexual innuendo and suggestive dialogue and many of her lines have become part of Americana (e.g. "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?" And, "A hard man is good to find." And of course, "Come up and see me sometime.")
The plot of this film is simplistic and it is clearly a vehicle for her enormous talent, leading up to the now famous proposal by Cary Grant at the end of the film. Mae commands every frame of the film with her incomparable combination of sex appeal and ribald humor. Her sense of comic timing is impeccable making the funny lines she writes that much more hilarious by the snide way in which she delivers them.
Before this film, Cary Grant had appeared in half a dozen films and was building a reputation as a solid actor. However, none of his early films gave him the exposure that this film did due to its wild popularity at the time. West handpicked him for the part saying that he combined virility with the bearing of a gentleman. She wanted someone who would epitomize the now famous line, "Hello, warm, dark and handsome." Though his role in this film is minor compared to West's, it made him a household name and a bankable star.
This classic film is a piece of film history that shouldn't be missed. I rated it a 10/10. It is among Mae West's best moments. I highly recommend it.
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on April 23, 2008
I am a huge Mae West fan and collector of almost 3 decades (now that stung!) and this is a GREAT film. However....once again, nothing has been cleaned up or remastered. In fact, it is so grainy, I almost think the VHS release is better. This is good to have simply for the sake of "preservation" instead of relying on VHS, and because Mae West is always a total joy. But don't expect anything new or exciting, such as QUALITY. I'm pretty sure Universal has enough dough to have done a little something with this. Mae West's films are GEMS! They deserve the same treatment (to be cleaned up and have an excellent transfer), like so many great old films have when released on DVD. As it stands, no Mae West films have been remastered (with the exception of 'Myra Breckenridge').

As I said before, with Mae West, you can't go wrong! But with Universal...well...
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on December 8, 1999
This is a most enjoyable vehicle for Mae West's comedic talents;her timing,inflection and phrases are pure fun. The spicy humor and double entendres that characterized West's career are all evident here and the film made a fortune for Paramount when it was first released in 1933. It was this movie which ignited the attention of the notorious Hays Code which was in existence since 1930 yet largely ignored by it's creators. Mae West was revolutionary in early thirties cinema; her demeanor and carriage brought to the screen a playful sexiness which alternately shocked and delighted the public. This was one of designer Edith Head's very early assignments and her gowns for West's Lady Lou were exactly right.
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on July 16, 2000
This was the first Mae West film I have seen, and I was curious to see if she would live up to her reputation. She did. West stars as Lou, a singer with a penchant for diamonds and men. She's mixed up with a bunch of white slave traders and crooks. West has a wisecrack for everything, and more than enough male admirers to keep her busy. But the one guy she wants, she can't seem to get, and that's do-gooder Cary Grant, the recipient of her famous "Come up and see me sometime" line that has made her immortal in films. West has a great screen presence and she exudes sexuality. She must have been a shock to Thirties film audiences. The film moves along briskly (it's just over an hour), and the dialogue really keeps your attention, as does Mae. The lady had a way with words.
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on September 9, 1999
Although Mae West is generally associated with sly sex comedies, fans who expect hilarity from "She Done Him Wrong" will be surprised to discover the film is no comedy. The story of a hard-boiled saloon singer who unintentionally inspires the men who wish to afford her to lives of crime, She Done Him Wrong is a surprisingly bruising portait of life among the criminal element in the 1890s New York Bowery. West's lines are extremely quotable, and often provide a startled type of amusement, but they pale beside her own characterization of lucious Lady Lou, who describes herself as a woman without a soul... and who will stop at nothing-- including murder.
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on August 2, 2005
Who hasn't heard of Mae West? Even those of you who haven't, you must of heard some of her witty "West-isms".

West plays Lady Lou, a saloon singer who wears low cut, form-fitting gowns and drips with glittering diamonds. A woman who becomes the object of desire for every person of the opposite sex. A gold-digger with a shady past and a heart of gold.

Mae was almost 40 when she made this film and it's apparent in some (if not most) of her scenes. But despite all of her physical shortcomings, she still manages to convince some of us of her sexual expertise. It's all in her mannerisms, her "purr" and her stroll. The woman just oozes sex and her over-sized, hour glass figure in some scenes is spectacular. As one critic stated she is "the BIG BEN of hour glass figures".

This beloved classic offer's some of her best one-liners ever and some of the smartest dialoge to ever grace the silver screen. A scene that comes to mind is when Lady Lou comes to the aid of a young lady who tried to kill herself, West asks:

"What's wrong...commited murder?"

GIRL: "No and I never will."

MAE: "Well you've got nothing to worry about. At least the guys alive."

GIRL: "How did you know there was a man?"

MAE: "There always is. You know it takes two to get one in trouble."

GIRL: "You know everything about me."

MAE: "I wouldn't say that but I am observant..... what was he, married?."

GIRL: "Yes but I didn't know... I didn't know."

MAE: "It makes no difference to me whether you did or not. It's their game. I just happen to be smart enough to play it their way. You'll come to it."

A bit later on the young girl asks: "Who'd want me after what I've done?".

To which West replies: "When woman go wrong men go right after them."

Another classic moment is when West's maid states: " ...if something were to happen, I wouldn't want no policeman to catch me without no petticoats." To which West says: "No policeman, how about a nice fireman?".

This film was actually considered "pornographic" by some at the time. The only thing sexual about the film is Mae West's appearance and of course, her innuendos. It is a shame that many of her films were heavily edited and some of her best one-liner's were left on the cutting room floor.

This was West's first starring feature and it's one of her best. It's "larger-than -life" star steals the show and those who have not seen this classic are sure missing out.

So do yourselves a favour and "go up and see her". She'll make it worth your while.
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HALL OF FAMEon April 10, 2008
Mae West's very first starring vehicle in 1933, SHE DONE HIM WRONG (based on her Broadway play "Diamond Lil"), is still one of her all-time best. In it, she co-stars with a very young and boyish Cary Grant, and while their physical pairing doesn't entirely sit well, their sizzling chemistry more than compensates.

Mae West is Lady Lou, the reigning singing star of the Bowery. Although she's wooed and adored by just about every man that crosses her path, Lou wants the unattainable: Captain Cummings (Cary Grant), the local mission director. In a plot overflowing with jailed former lovers, stolen diamonds and a Barbary Coast white slavery outfit, will Lou land her handsome Captain? Watch and find out...

In SHE DONE HIM WRONG, Mae West cemented the archetypal character she'd more or less reprise in all of her subsequent movies. Cary Grant perfectly pairs her, and the two would be reunited in West's next movie, "I'm No Angel" (released later the same year), an even bigger hit which helped pull Universal Studios out of it's financial reverses.

Mae West sings "A Guy What Takes His Time", "She Done Him Wrong", "Frankie & Johnny", and "Easy Rider". The supporting cast includes Rochelle Hudson, Owen Moore, Gilbert Roland, Noah Beery, David Landau, and Rafaela Ottiano.
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on April 29, 2008
Never having seen "She Done Him Wrong" before (although I've heard plenty about its notoriety), I was pleased to find Mae West in top form. Yet another film based upon her notorious stage plays, it must've had quite an impact on audiences when it debuted. Although Miss West was not the first female comedian (Mabel Normand was there long before her), she was important in film history as the first female character which was strongly assertive. When others did her wrong, Mae was quick in putting them in their place with a suggestive comment or sharp one-liner. After spending years on the stage, Mae was an old pro at tossing out bawdy one-liners with ease, a trademark of her character. And she could speak volumes with just a roll of her eyes or sway of her hips; quite a contrast from today's actresses who must engage in graphic sex scenes or bare all to get our attention.
Armed with a strong script & surrounded with a solid cast (the young, handsome Cary Grant, Gilbert Roland, Noah Beery, Sr., etc.), Mae entered into a confrontation with the Censorship Bureau over the film's content---the first of many battles for her. Ultimately (and obviously), the film was made, was a box office smash, and saved Paramount Pictures from the brink of bankruptcy. Quit an impact, indeed!
Balancing comedy & drama, SDHW sets the mold for many vehicles in which Mae's character was continually assaulted because of her "past", but she always won out due to her unflappable manner & deep-down integrity. Singing & talking in her husky, slightly nasally voice, Mae was certainly impressionable.
Handsomely packaged & remastered, the DVD also includes a dandy introduction from Robert Osbourne, as well as an early cartoon clearly patterned after Miss West titled "She Done Him Right". Undoubtedly, Mae West at the peak of her powers.
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