g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
News & Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

Bored? Games!
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

Women's Fashion
Small Office/Home Office
Holiday/Seasonal Cooking
Crafts for Kids

All times in EST

Low Carb: 8:00 PM

Full Schedule
g Classic Film Site

BellaOnline's Classic Film Editor


Mae West's Scandalous Writing Career

Guest Author - Amber Grey

“Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?” may sound like a witty pick-up line but was in fact written by sex icon Mae West. During her scintillating writing career, West would be arrested and fined for her plays and create a buzz with her films. When it came to the subject of censorship, West commented, “I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.”

Mae West began performing in vaudeville and once shared the stage with Al Jolson in a production of “Vera Violetta.” Although West was credited for her roles under her real name, when she started to write her risque plays, Mae West wrote under a pseudonym, Jane Mast.

In 1926, West premiered her first Broadway show that she wrote, produced, directed and starred in – it was titled “Sex.” One night, the police raided the theater to arrest West and everyone involved in the production because of the play’s contents. West was sentenced to ten days in jail. While West served time, she diligently took notes in hopes of using the experience as theatrical material in the future. Ironically, West was released two days early for good behavior. “This is the only time that I ever got anything for good behavior,” West commented. Henceforth, she would write her future plays under her real name, Mae West.

At the age of 39, West made her film debut as Maudie Triplett in “Night After Night” (1932). With that fifteen-minute role, she managed to rewrite many of the lines given her, including the famous, “Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie.” Mae then began to write screenplays. Her first film to write was “I'm No Angel” (1933) in which she co-starred alongside Cary Grant. That film-writing endeavor earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

Two of her plays which were sprouted from the material she recorded while in jail were “Diamond Lil” and “Pleasure Man.” “Diamond Lil” would be made into a film adaptation titled, “She Done Him Wrong” (1933) with West cast in the starring role as Lady Lou. It is the film which first featured the infamous line, “Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me.” This film also went on to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

The play “Pleasure Man” contained content which caused significant trouble for her with the authorities. During two separate showings, the police raided the theater, arresting everyone involved with the production. West was find $20,000.

In 1955, West wrote an autobiography titled “Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It.” By the end of her career, she had made writing contributions to nine screenplays including her last film, “Sexette” (1979) which was also an adaptation of her play of the same title. Mae West is still considered the only woman in film history to have written most of her own movie lines.
This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add Mae+West%27s+Scandalous+Writing+Career to Twitter Add Mae+West%27s+Scandalous+Writing+Career to Facebook Add Mae+West%27s+Scandalous+Writing+Career to MySpace Add Mae+West%27s+Scandalous+Writing+Career to Del.icio.us Digg Mae+West%27s+Scandalous+Writing+Career Add Mae+West%27s+Scandalous+Writing+Career to Yahoo My Web Add Mae+West%27s+Scandalous+Writing+Career to Google Bookmarks Add Mae+West%27s+Scandalous+Writing+Career to Stumbleupon Add Mae+West%27s+Scandalous+Writing+Career to Reddit

RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map

For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Classic Film Newsletter

Past Issues

Printer Friendly
tell friend
Tell a Friend
Email Editor

Content copyright © 2015 by Amber Grey. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Amber Grey. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.


g features
Archives | Site Map


Past Issues

Less than Monthly

BellaOnline on Facebook

| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2015 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.

BellaOnline Editor