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EVERY DAY’S A HOLIDAY (director: A. Edward Sutherland; screenwriter: Mae West; cinematographer: Karl Struss; editor: Ray Curtiss; music: George Stoll; cast: Mae West (Peaches O’Day), Edmund Lowe (Capt. McCarey), Charles Butterworth (Larmadou Graves), Lloyd Nolan (John Quade), Charles Winninger (Van Reighle Van Pelter Van Doon), Walter Catlett (Nifty Bailey), Louis Armstrong (Himself), George Rector (Himself), Roger Imoff (Trigger Mike), Herman Bing (Fritz Krausmeyer); Runtime: 79 MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Emanuel Cohen; Universal Vault Series; 1937)
“The last film Mae West made for Paramount, the studio she saved from bankruptcy with her previous hits.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A. Edward Sutherland (“One Night in the Tropics”/”The Invisible Woman”/”Poppy”) directs the last film Mae West made for Paramount, the studio she saved from bankruptcy with her previous hits. The studio spent, at the time, a record one million dollars on the production and the film bombed, as Mae’s portrait of Peaches O’Day, a turn-of-century confidence hustler, fell flat and her trademark suggestive humor never got rolling. The new Production Code put in place censored her work through the Hays Office and the expected bawdy comedy was reduced to tame stuff. The queen of double entendres also upset the Legion of Decency with her Adam and Eve radio sketch on the Edgar Bergen show, and they organized an effective letter writing campaign against her that helped kill the box office.

The plot has, on New Year’s Eve of 1899, the crooked police chief, John Quade (Lloyd Nolan), with a warrant to arrest the Bowery vaudeville singer and bunco lady Peaches for selling the Brooklyn Bridge for $200 to the dim-witted sucker named Fritz (Herman Bing), and Peaches is forced to skip town to avoid arrest. But with the help of honest cop, Captain McCarey (Edmund Lowe), she’s allowed to flee. With the help of a few eccentrics such as Nifty Bailey (Walter Catlett), Van Doon (Charles Winninger) and Rector (Himself), Peaches returns to the city disguised as the sultry French showgirl Mademoiselle Fifi and encourages McCarey to run as a reform candidate against Quade.

The result is a stiff musical with and an inane story and innocuous comedy, where at least Louis Armstrong is around and Mae belts out a Hoagy Carmichael tune called Jubilee. Mae’s next film, in 1940, would be one of her most popular, My Little Chickadee (with W.C. Fields), which revived her flagging career.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”