In 1890s St. Louis, vaudeville singer Ruby Carter is celebrated as “the greatest sensation of our 19th century”. Men swarm to her, including the young boxer Tiger Kid, whose trainer resorts to a ruse to end his protégé’s liaison with the singer. Ruby then moves to New Orleans to work at the Sensation House tavern owned by Ace Lamont, where she finds a new gaggle of admirers. But she doesn’t get to enjoy the diamonds showered on her for long, after Ace arranges for a thief to steal them. Ruby doesn’t suspect that the thief is an old flame of hers ... “It’s better to be looked over than overlooked”. The audience gets ample opportunity to do just that to the glamourous star during the film’s opening number. To the tune of “My American Beauty”, Ruby AKA Mae West poses centre stage like a living pin-up of a butterfly, a vampire, a rose, a spider and, finally, the Statue of Liberty. Subject to restrictions by the Hays Code, the flippant “sweetheart of the red, white, and blue” patriotically presented herself as the “statue of libido”.
by Leo McCarey
with Mae West, Roger Pryor, Johnny Mack Brown, John Miljan, Katherine DeMille, James Donlan, Stuart Holmes, Harry Woods, Edward Gargan
USA 1934 English 73’ Black/White

With

  • Mae West
  • Roger Pryor
  • Johnny Mack Brown
  • John Miljan
  • Katherine DeMille
  • James Donlan
  • Stuart Holmes
  • Harry Woods
  • Edward Gargan

Crew

Director Leo McCarey
Screenplay Mae West
Cinematography Karl Struss
Editing LeRoy Stone
Sound Harry Mills
Art Director Hans Dreier, Bernard Herzbrun
Costumes Travis Banton
Producer William LeBaron

Produced by

Paramount Productions, Inc.

Additional information

DCP: NBCUniversal, Universal City, CA

Leo McCarey

Filmography

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022