Patrick O’Connor

Peel Me A Grape

Mae West: It Ain’t No Sin

By

Faber & Faber 512pp £20 order from our bookshop
 

William Randolph Hearst, the man who was not yet immortalised as Citizen Kane, sent a memo to his managing editors in 1936 ordering them to ‘roast’ Mae West’s latest film, Klondike Annie: ‘a filthy picture … an affront to the decency of the public and to the interests of the motion picture profession’. In this film, loosely based on Mae West’s play Frisco Kate, she first appears as a slinky singer in a San Francisco gambling house, singing ‘I’m an Occidental woman in an Oriental mood for love’. Then, having done her bit for decency by impersonating a missionary in the cold north, she opts for a happy life with a burly sea captain.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter