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Mae West - The Glamour Collection (Go West Young Man/ Goin' To Town/ I'm No Angel/ My Little Chickadee/ Night After Night)
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If you doubt this, check out Night After Night, her film debut. The first half of the picture is an unremarkable gangster comedy: George Raft in his usual inert form, Constance Cummings the good girl, capable comic support from Roscoe Karns and Alison Skipworth. Then West blowses in, and it's all over. Within a minute she's tossed off an eternal signature line (hatcheck girl: "Goodness, what beautiful diamonds." West: "Goodness had nothin' to do with it, dearie") and disrupted the high-class aims of gangster Raft. The other actors look agog at this unapologetic force of libido. Watching this, you might recall the first time you ever saw Groucho Marx or Bill Murray on film--the movie itself disappears, replaced by gratitude that someone like this exists.
I'm No Angel followed her first starring vehicle (She Done Him Wrong, not included here), and its lunatic plot--Mae as a lion tamer taken up by New York society--does nothing to slow the barrage of sexual innuendo. West hums her way through the film with the kind of confidence that must have inspired countless fans to try something disreputable. Cary Grant is the bemused recipient of West's attention. Goin' to Town is nearly as good, as dance-hall gal Mae inherits an oil fortune, then sets her cap for the haughty Englishman working on her, uh, wells. West's style is undiminished (she was in her mid-forties already), although by this time the Production Code--concocted in part as a horrified response to her first films--was trimming her entendres.
Tamer still is the tongue-in-cheek Go West Young Man, although the spectacle of West (playing a "temperamental" movie star) leering after hunky Randolph Scott is pleasant. My Little Chickadee, made at Universal after her run at Paramount ended, is the legendary pairing with W.C. Fields. It's full of great bon mots from both drawlers, even if the sum is less than its parts. Disapproving Margaret Hamilton tells Fields of West, "I'm afraid I can't say anything good about her." Fields replies, "I can see what's good, tell me the rest." These five films are a good introduction to the rest. Beulah, peel me a grape. --Robert Horton
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Disc one Side A : Night After Night & I'm No Angel
Side B: Going To Town
Disc two: Side A: Go West Young Man & My Little Chick-a-dee
Side B: Nothing
I haven no idea why side B is completely empty when two films are crammed onto Side A. The only extras are trailers for three of the films and the menu designs are identical for each film. Sadly, it seems to be a trend for most catalog classic releases to be treated as such. The Greta Garbo DVDs released earlier last year had picture quality that was not only about the same, it was worse in some places. Those were apparently "digitally restored" (I'm talking about her talkies, not the silents which had more scratches on them than a cat post) and cost about $20 A PIECE.
As for the films themselves, they are screen gems indeed. Mae West exhibits both a strong and amusing presence on film. She was an actress who was ahead of, as well as one of the most controversial, of her time. Each film shows off her perfectly timed comic abilities as well as her vocal talents which aren't too shabby either. After comparing the quality and price of these DVDs to previous releases of older films that belong in this genre, I've decided that this is really an excellent deal. So please, don't pay attention to angry reviewers who are bitter about lack of extras, this set is certainly worth it!
Now, PLEASE continue to release the many other Fields movies that are out there. I'm really hoping this is only 1 of several volumes that will be issued.
Any and all Fields fans should buy this, buy another 1 or 2 for gifts to family and friends, the better this release does the better chances of more to follow!
And if you haven't seen Fields ever??? You have to buy this, this man is one of THE building blocks of all modern comedy!
MUST SEE CLASSIC CINEMA! Fields slow burn style of comedy is a drastic opposite to today's modern, cheap, "fast food" style of comedy. Today's comedy is a quick laugh and it's over, never as funny the second time around, but with Fields, each viewing makes you laugh more as you start to relate pesonally to W.C. and all his trials and tribulations of life that he interweaves into his comedy.
On a personal level Fields as a comedian sneaks into your heart and mind causing you to develop a rapport with him and the daily events of life that shape and mold all of us to a certain extent. Fields, in his never ending struggle for control of those daily events brings about some of the most classic comedy ever to be captured on film. This my friends is THE golden age of comedy captured for all to enjoy, do not miss it.
I've watched all the discs now and quality is as good as it's going to get, very, very good. The packaging is very nicely done too.
As far as the choice of movies included... Well it's too bad they put the Bank Dick in taking a spot away from another possible inclusion, seeing a high quality Criterion Collection version is already available. International House is a scream, I've always liked it, not so sure it is a "fit" in a Fields collection however, but his material is very good in the movie. Perhaps 3 more collections can come out making enough room in each of the collections for movies like this where Fields only had a part in them.
Someone mentioned Six Of A Kind, IT IS available on DVD as part of the Burns Allen collection, as well as The Big Broadcast, Sally Of The Sawdust, and 6 shorts Fileds on Criterion Collection which is superb quality.
NOW, it is a must that all fans e-mail Universal and ask for MORE releases!!!!!!!! Here's what we need in no particular order.
2.Man On The Flying Trapeze
3.You're Telling Me
4.The Old Fashioned Way
6.Tillie And Gus
7.Never Give a Sucker An Even Break
8.If I Had A Million
9.Tales Of Manhattan
10.Her Majesty Love
11.Song Of The Open Road
12.Sensations of 1945
13.Alice In Wonderland
14.It's The Old Army Game
15.Follow The Boys
17.Million Dollar Legs
It can be seen that there is enough material for 3 more collections. PLEASE UNIVERSAL!!!!!!!
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