GO WEST YOUNG MAN (Paramount, 1936) directed by Henry Hathaway, with full screenplay credit by Mae West, with Warren William and Randolph Scott as co-stars, returns the "come up and see me sometime" gal in her first full-fledge comedy since I'M NO ANGEL (1933). No villains, no accidental killings nor murder victims, no jealous ex- lovers out for revenge, just the good clean humorous fun but minus those suggestive one-liners for which West is famous. While the given title and the support by cowboy actor, Randolph Scott, might pass itself off as a western, GO WEST YOUNG MAN, is actually a contemporary comedy based on a recent Broadway play, PERSONAL APPEARANCE, that starred Gladys George. Being featured in a movie from a play originated by another is indication as to why West seems miscast in a role that might have been far better suited on screen by its originator. While West might physically act in the manner of Gladys George on some occasions, she does build up her character to suit the traditional Mae West style. Unlike her previous screen efforts giving her a some men to choose from, this time she copes with three (Warren William, Randolph Scott and Lyle Talbot), but only gets to ride off with just one, and only one.
Overlooking this somewhat misleading title for now (which could easily be confused with her 1935 fringe western, "Goin' to Town", the opening credits presenting its casting names and staff in italic lettering, and night club-style underscoring indicating a lavish scale musical, the story opens with crowds gathering in a movie theater attending the premiere of DRIFTING LADY, starring Mavis Arden (Mae West) of Superfine Pictures Inc. The initial ten minutes devotes itself to a movie within a movie, starting with Xavier Cugat and his orchestra conducting as Mavis sings "On a Typical Tropical Night," to follow with her romancing one man, betraying another, Rico (Jack LaRue), a married man whom she abandons for a third (G.P. Huntley Jr.). (This plot alone is much interesting than the actual story itself). As DRIFTING LADY comes to a climatic finish, Mavis Arden, in person, on a movie promotion, steps out on stage making her speech to her avid fans that the character on screen is not real Mavis. Before going on another tour, Mavis attempts on meeting privately with Francis X. Harrigan (Lyle Talbot), a congressman, at the Palace Roof. In order to keep her single and unavailable to men, Morgan (Warren William), her press agent, arranges for Mavis and Harrigan's evening together to be disrupted by reporters. Harrigan later arranges to meet with Mavis in Harrisburg where he intends on proposing to her. Thanks to Morgan, Mavis never makes it her destination. Her limousine breaks down, leaving the movie star, her French maid (Alice Ardell), and chauffeur (John Indrisano) stranded on the road in the middle of nowhere. Eventually ending up at The Haven, an old boarding house managed by Addie Struthers (Alice Brady), Mavis and staff become her temporary boarders. Demanding Morgan for arrangements to leave as soon as possible, Mavis changes her manner after taking notice on Bud Norton (Randolph Scott), a handsome young mechanic outside her window lifting a car on his shoulders, leaving Morgan with further schemes on breaking up that relationship entirely.
While the scenario to GO WEST YOUNG MAN has the makings of a hilarious mad-cap comedy, the finished product comes off a bit weak at times. On the whole, it's really not bad in spite the fact that it could have been better, and funnier. With an impressive cast of familiar faces, it's interesting to note that, for a Mae West comedy, it consists of more female co-stars (Brady, Elizabeth Patterson, Isabel Jewell, and Margaret Perry, the latter playing Scott's fiancée) than actors fighting for her affection. With Warren William playing a scheming press agent ("just a mouse studying to be a rat") his presence, along with Lyle Talbot and Jack LaRue, give GO WEST YOUNG MAN more of a Warner Brothers appeal, considering how these actors were under contract for that studio. Character types Maynard Holmes and Nicodemis Stewart fill in the cast, along with Etienne Girardot as the complaining boarder not wanting his eggs cooked sunny side up because, "They're looking at me!"
Regardless of some brighter moments, instrumental underscoring and faster pacing might have helped this 81 minute comedy along. Other songs were reportedly written for this production, particularly "Go West Young Man," which was underscored during the opening credits, but West gets to sing one other tune, "I Was Saying to the Moon," while with Randolph Scott. Although the production code has cleaned up Mae West's screen character, her Mavis still has her eye for the opposite sex, in this case, Bud (Randolph Scott. With this being Scott's only performance opposite West, his presence offers something to the plot but no great demands. They do share one sort-of love scene together while West lies in a pile of hay in a barn telling the young man how all this reminds her about her first movie, "The Farmer's Daughter."
GO WEST YOUNG MAN, along with other Mae West Paramount titles of the 1930s, were distributed to video cassette from MCA/ Universal in 1992-93 to commemorate the centennial of her birth. Sadly these Mae West videos have been discontinued, and the movie itself was last shown on a cable channel of Chicago's very own WGN around 1987, and hasn't been seen anywhere since. In spite that GO WEST YOUNG MAN has been labeled as one of Mae West's more quieter comedies, with a fine supporting cast such as this, it should still be enjoyable viewing. And what does the title have to do with the story? We'll never know. (***)
Go West Young Man
Go West Young Man
Movie star Mavis Arden, as amorous in private as she is pure in public, gets involved with a politician despite her watchdog publicist Morgan. Planning to meet her beau again at the next stop on her personal appearance tour, Mavis is stranded at a remote rural boarding house, with a pretentious landlady, sensible old maid, rabid film fan waitress...and strapping young mechanic Bud Norton, whom to Mavis is just the plaything of an idle hour... —Rod Crawford
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
July 23, 2021 at 05:19 AM