GOIN’ TO TOWN (director: Alexander Hall; screenwriters: Mae West/story by Marion Morgan and George B. Dowel; cinematographer: Karl Struss; editor: LeRoy Stone; music: Tom Satterfield; cast: Mae West (Cleo Borden), Paul Cavanagh(Edward Carrington), Gilbert Emery (Winslow), Tito Coral (Taho), Marjorie Gateson (Mrs. Crane Brittony), Fred Kohler (Buck Gonzales), Ivan Lebedeff (Ivan Valadov), Francis Ford (Sheriff), Paul Harvey (Donovan, cop), Monroe Owsley (Fletcher Colton), Joe frye (Laughing Eagle, jockey); Runtime: 74; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William LeBaron; Universal; 1935)
“It ought to be amusing, but wasn’t.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This comedy suffers because it came out during the Production Code and censorhip did a number on her double-entendres. It ought to be amusing, but wasn’t. Alexander Hall (“Here Comes Mr. Jordan”/”My Sister Eileen”/”Little Miss Marker”)sloppily directs this Mae West star vehicle and seems to just aim the camera and shoot. It’s based on the story by Marion Morgan and George B. Dowel, with Mae West writing the script.
Out West, bawdy saloon singer Cleo Borden (Mae West) loses a crap game and as arranged must wed wealthy cattle rancher Buck Gonzales (Fred Kohler). But he’s killed by the sheriff while rustling cattle. Cleo inherits his vast wealth. While inspecting her oil wells she falls in love with an engineer, Edward Carrington (Paul Cavanagh), a snobbish cultured British aristocrat.He rejects her as ‘crude oil.’ To win him over, Cleo treks to Buenos Aires to race her horse Cactus and to find a way to crash high society and to hook up at the race track with the traveling engineer in order to win him over.Among the society folks, Mrs. Crane Brittony (Marjorie Gateson) detests Cleo. She’s running another horse in the race and has made a large side bet with Cleo on the winner. To ensure she wins, Lady Brittony gets her rodent-like aristocratic gold-digging Russian boyfriend Ivan (Ivan Lebedeff) to prevent Cactus from running. But Ivan is thwarted by Cleo’s loyal horse trainer Taho (Tito Coral). During the race, when Cleo detects further cheating against her entry, she resorts to her own dirty illegal tricks to win.
Cleo is helped getting around the Buenos Aires society circuit by her gentleman lawyer, Winslow (Gilbert Emery). With Cleo’s consent, Winslow arranges for her to make a business-arrangement marriage with Fletcher Colton (Monroe Owsley) whereby she pays off his gambling debts and supports him and she gets his family’s title. The film’s highlight takes place in Southhampton, where Cleo throws a society party and presents the opera Samson and Delilah, with Cleo singing the Delilah aria of “My Heart at Thy Still Voice.” During the opera, Ivan robs Cleo’s bedroom safe and kills the drunken Colton when he tries to prevent him. Mrs. Crane Brittony then tries to say Cleo is the murderer, but Taho catches Ivan with the stolen money and he confesses to the police and implicates Crane Brittony. The slimy Ivan says Brittony hired him to try and compromise Cleo. With hubby out of the way, Cleo marries the Earl of Stratton, Carrington, and becomes Lady Stratton.
Mae also sings “Now I’m a Lady” and “He’s a Bad Bad Man, But He’s Good Enough for Me,”
REVIEWED ON 5/1/2011 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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