Sunday, May 23, 2010

Review: Goin' to Town (1935)

Mae West is fun to watch, even when she is neutered by the Hayes Office. Here she gets off some pretty good lines, like after she was asked if she had consented to marry the cattle rancher, and she says, "sure I did... twice!" The fact that lines like that were allowed in just makes me curious to know what exactly the censors cut out.

The problem with this film isn't West, it's everything around her. The plot is so pointlessly chaotic, and not in a fun way. It feels like West and/or the director, Alexander Hall, just kept getting bored with what they were making, and decided to change it midway through. It starts out as a Western parody. Then it's a horse racing comedy. Then it's a Pygmalion story. Then it's an opera. Then it's a murder mystery. Then a love story. Then a musical. It just can't make up its mind. And while some of these individual elements are fun in and of themselves, none of them really work together properly. Even before the ending, where the film tries to be about four different movies all at once - even when the film is going through each different setup in a linear fashion, it still doesn't gel properly. Nothing leads in to anything else - it's so pointlessly jerky.

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