Cinema: The New Pictures: Feb. 26, 1940

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My Little Chickadee (Universal) is an inspired coupling of the suggestive art of America's leading mental stripteaser (Mae West) with the comic talents of one of the funniest men on earth (W. C. Fields). Together they make a comedy which is more hilarious than its grab-bag plot about a fancy lady, whose efforts to roll a penniless hair-oil salesman are insufficiently supported by good gags, has any right to be. It also suffers less than usual from the tendency of Comedienne West (who yearns to play Catherine the Great) to take herself too seriously.

As highly staminate Flower Belle, Mae West spreads her gorgeous corolla (including a butterfly bow that coyly punctuates her posterior rhythms) in Greasewood City, one of the West's wide-open places. There she gets mixed up with a Masked Bandit, who turns out to be Joseph Calleia disguised as a cagoulard. Flower Belle's throaty account of their first meeting: "I was in a tight spot, but I managed to wiggle out of it." She also fakes a marriage with Cuthbert J. Twillie (W. C. Fields) because she thinks his bag of fake money is real, substitutes a goat for herself in the nuptial chamber when she finds it isn't.

Not quite the box-office come-on she used to be, Miss West implements this return to her spiritual home in the gamy 'gos with the expert services of Director Edward F. Cline, the ex-Keystone Cop, who invented Bathing Beauties, and Producer Lester Cowan, who taught Hollywood (with You Can't Cheat an Honest Man) that Comedian Fields is at his best when he is playing Comedian Fields.

Cuthbert J. Twillie is first-rate W. C. Fields' clowning, which is proof enough that one of the coolest heads in show business surmounts Cinemactress West's opulent curves. For Mae, who fancies herself no end as a literatus and has always jealously insisted on authoring her own scripts, this time took a tip from Producer Cowan. She let Funnyman Fields write in his own part, ad lib to his heart's content. Best ad lib was carefully excised from the picture. Murmured Fields one day to the goat which he mistakes for Flower Belle: "Darling, have you changed your perfume?"

— No. 1, Disney's Snow White; No. 2, Max Fleischer's Gulliver's Travels.

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