GO WEST YOUNG MAN (director: Henry Hathaway; screenwriters: from the play “Personal Appearance” by Lawrence Riley/Mae West; cinematographer: Karl Struss; editor: Ray Curtiss; music: Arthur JohnstonGeorge Stoll; cast: Mae West (Mavis Arden), Warren William (Morgan), Randolph Scott (Bud Norton), Lyle Talbot (Francis X. Harrigan), Margaret Perry(Joyce Struthers), Alice Brady (Mrs. Struthers), Walter Walker (Andy Kelton), Etienne Girardot(Prof. Rigby), Isabel Jewell(Gladys), Elizabeth Patterson(Aunt Kate Barnaby), Nicodemus Stewart (Black Garage Worker); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Emanuel Cohen; Universal; 1936)
“Censorship took away most reasons to see this punch-less pic.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The enforced Production Code was no friend of Mae West, as censorship took away most reasons to see this punch-less pic. This musical comedy is based on the play “Personal Appearance” by Lawrence Riley (it starred Gladys George on Broadway during its successful run in 1934 and 1935) and is written by Mae West. It becomes the first time West starred in a film that was not written for her and thereby there are several other parts for ladies in it that have some meat, unlike the lame roles they have in her other films. Director Henry Hathaway (“True Grit”/“The Sons of Katie Elder”/”Niagara”) can’t do much with this turkey of a Hollywood spoof (watered down from the stage version) but keep it from going completely off the farm.
Mavis Alden (Mae West) is a glamorous, bawdy, pretentious and pampered movie star. Her studio sends her on a nationwide promotional tour of her latest pictureDrifting Lady.On tour inWashington, D. C., Mavis dines with her prominent politician old flame, Francis X. Harrigan (Lyle Talbot). Thereby her zealous press agent Morgan (Warren William) notifies the press where they are dining to get publicity for his client and break up their romance with bad publicity that might possibly cause a scandal for the politician running for Congress. There’s a clause in Mavis’ contract with Superfine Pictures, Inc. that forbids her to marry for five years, and it’s the press agent’sjob to be sure she is not tempted (but for him it’s more than a job, he has a crush on her).The next stop on the tour isHarrisburg, Pennsylvania, but when Mavis’ Rolls Royce breaks down she’s forced to stop in a hayseed farm town outside of Harrisburg.The dame with the high motor for men, turns her attention to the hunky but naive car mechanic and inventor Bud Norton (Randolph Scott). He’s engaged to Joyce (Margaret Perry), whose family owns the boardinghouse the actress is staying at.The comedy turns to wisecracks by Mavis and reaction shots of Mavis checking out Bud’s butt and trying to ward off Joyce’s incensed family, and also trying to keep the meddler Morgan from breaking up the possible romance with the square Bud.
It’s slight on music, narrative and laughs, but it’s still a Mae West vehicle that has some traction.
REVIEWED ON 5/1/2011 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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