She Done Him Wrong (1933)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

"I'm the finest woman who walked the streets," declares bejeweled, hip-swishing Lady Lou (Mae West) at the beginning of She Done Him Wrong. Lou works as a singer at the Gay Nineties saloon of Gus Jordan (Noah Beery Sr.), who plies her with diamonds to keep her by his side. She runs afoul of stalwart mission captain Cummings (Cary Grant), who warns her that she's on the road to perdition. Mae West's first starring film, She Done Him Wrong literally saved Paramount Pictures from bankruptcy. It would remain the best of her feature films, most of which were severely watered down by the Production Code (whose renewed stringency of 1933 was brought about in great part by West herself). She Done Him Wrong was based on West's own stage play, +Diamond Lil, which ran on Broadway for 97 weeks. West sings "Frankie and Johnny," "I Like a Man Who Takes His Time," and ""I Wonder Where My Easy Rider's Gone.""
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Classics , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
MCA Universal Home Video

Cast

Mae West
as Lady Lou
Cary Grant
as Capt. Cummings
Gilbert Roland
as Serge Stanieff
Noah Beery Sr.
as Gus Jordan
Owen Moore
as Chick Clark
David Landau
as Dan Flynn
Rafaela Ottiano
as Russian Rita
Dewey Robinson
as Spider Kane
Rochelle Hudson
as Sally Glynn
Tammany Young
as Chuck Connors
Fuzzy Knight
as Ragtime Kelly
Grace La Rue
as Frances
Robert E. Homans
as Officer Doheney
Aggie Herring
as Mrs. Flaherty
Tom Kennedy
as Big Billy
Al Hill
as Bar Fly
Arthur Housman
as Bar Fly
Mary Gordon
as Cleaning Lady
Michael Mark
as Janitor
Harry Wallace
as Steak McGarry
Lee Kohlmar
as Jacobson
Frank Moran
as Framed Convict
Heinie Conklin
as Street Cleaner
Charles "Heinie" Conklin
as Street Cleaner
Jack Carr
as Patron
Ernie S. Adams
as Man in Audience
Jack Carr
as Patron
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for She Done Him Wrong

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (4)

Director Lowell Sherman turns in a commendable job.

Full Review… | January 11, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

A superior vehicle for Mae West.

Full Review… | January 11, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Miss West gives a highly amusing performance.

Full Review… | August 7, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Marvellous stuff.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

As expected, She Done Him Wrong boasts few positive attributes or elements worth getting excited about aside from Mae West's typically magnetic turn as the brash protagonist...

Full Review… | June 25, 2016
Reel Film Reviews

Mae West is at her inimitable best, in this risque tale that shot her to stardom.

Full Review… | February 10, 2012
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for She Done Him Wrong

Mae West gives a compelling, albeit wholly unlikable performance as a heartless, wealth-focused man-eater. I've got to say it's one of the least sexy performances by a so-called sex symbol in recent cinematic memory.

Kristijonas Fussman
Kristijonas Fussman

Super Reviewer

A turn-of-the-century singer manipulates various gangland suitors. In an iconic role, Mae West saunters her through this film. She creates an attitude but not a character, and the film highlights her charisma, delights in her wit, and revels in her schemes. The rest of the characters, even the vaguely racist portrayal of Lady Lou's dressing maid, are window dressing as West chews scenery. It's a performance that is more ambiance than storytelling. The film's plot unfolds predictably, and though the chemistry between Cary Grant's character and Lady Lou is palpable, the romantic undertones of their relationship are revealed more by the skilled actors than by the script. Overall, the atmosphere West creates is alluring and a little fun, but the film feels incomplete to a modern viewer.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Mae West stars as Lady Lou, a singer and very popular lady living above a saloon in the 1890s. She's quite the worldly lady when it comes to some things, but when it comes to others, she's a little bit too naive for her own good. She's got men throwing themselves at her at every turn, including one big timer who gives her box loads of diamonds and one small timer who's serving time and literally can't wait to have Lou in his arms again. She plays them all, telling them what they want to hear and reaping the benefits. But there's one man she can't seem to get a handle on, the local captain at the missionary (Cary Grant). He's more interested in saving Lou's soul than in having her body, much to her chagrin. When a shamed woman tries to commit suicide in the saloon, Lou takes her under her wing and sends her to the mission. It turns out the boss of the saloon didn't get the girl a job like he promised but instead ran her into some sort of "white slavery" ring (where else would he get all the money to pay for Lou's diamonds?). It's strange that most of the bad in men (in She Done Him Wrong) can all be traced back to the temptations of a single woman. Cary Grant's closing line to her is "You're a baad girl" to which she replies "You'll find out" (purportedly, Mae West gave Grant his big break, choosing him to star opposite her in this film- West obviously knew a thing about male actors). She Done Him Wrong is a very good film, well shot with a nostalgia for the gay 90s and Mae West just eats up the scenery. Sure, everyone knows her schtick: the cat-like drawl, practically moaning her double entendres and innuendos, the way she swings just about every part of her body when she walks, but does everyone catch just the subtlest raised eyebrow as she belts out "Frankie and Johnnie"? I don't even know if West noticed it herself. Her performance of that character might've been like second nature to her by that point (in this, her second film, Mae was already 39 years old and a veteran of the stage). Whether or not the cast rises to the challenge of performing with her is moot, this is Mae West's film and hers alone, and she's a magnificient talent.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

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