I'm No Angel
I'm No Angel (1933) Directed by Wesley Ruggles. Screenplay by Mae West. Mae West, Cary Grant Edward Arnold (87 min)
Tira is a come-hither lion tamer who controls the big cats as confidently as she controls her men, in 1933’s top grossing film. She crosses the line of respectable female behavior, and racial lines as well, bonding with her Greek chorus of African American maids. Her sultry persona was inspired by a famous 1920s drag performer named Bert Savoy. The opening carnival scenes harken back to Mae's vaudeville days as a "muscle dancer," and her lowdown number "They call me Sister Honky Tonk" a reminder of her affinity for black blues and black musicians. Mae makes a spectacle of her lustful middle-age desires in a world that values youth, where every woman is alluring and every man can be had.
Wednesday, March 13