Want to know how The Production Code even came into effect? Well, the Catholic community were disturbed by many films coming out in the 1930s such as 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, and Footlight Parade. But this film in particular is one of the films to blame for The Code being enforced six months later after the time of its release. Mae West’s She Done Him Wrong is about an irresistible nightclub singer who gets into some trouble when her former lover escapes jail thinking she stayed faithful to him when in reality, she had more male suitors than an average woman in the 1890s should have.
It’s funny how a line like this gets people so riled up! Especially considering it was told in the tone of a sexual innuendo. She doesn’t explicitly say “let’s get in bed together.” Before she became a big screen name, Mae West wrote her own screenplay performed on Broadway called Diamond Li. She Done Me Wrong is considered the watered down version of that stage production. Mae West’s character is a sharp-tongued, no nonsense, seductive nightclub singer who sings songs filled with sexual innuendos such as “Frankie and Johnny” and “Easy Rider.” She knows more men in her life than she could count. In the scene where she visits her former lover Chick in jail, all the men in the cells say “Hello Lou”, showing that she gets around.
It’s one liners like that that help make a film memorable and comedic. Despite the controversy, it did get a nomination for Best Picture– making this the shortest film ever (66 minutes) to be nominated in that category. We even get introduced to a young Cary Grant who is kind of a game changer for the male-magnet. I like how the character of Lou is very confident and has no problem showing off her diamonds (ignore the pun). But it’s characters like that where certain religious groups felt threatened. Do you agree with their reasoning? While I found this film very entertaining, I thought the ending was a bit rushed and out of pace. Hopefully you’ll see what I mean when you see it.
Watch this sexy comedy of Mae West’s and comment what you think: