- by Zoë
Tira works in Bill's
circus, and lives with Slick (a pickpocket). Tira also has a hotel room,
where she has...erm....visitors. One visitor is knocked out by jealous
Slick, who steals his diamond ring. When the man comes to, he gets Slick
arrested. Tira needs money, so she agrees to do a dangerous lion act. After
the show, Kirk and Jack (socialites) go backstage to see Tira. Kirk has a
short romance with Tira, but then it is Jack's turn.
- by Gael
I'M NO ANGEL brings Mae and Cary into a contemporary
setting. West is Tira, a hootchie-kootchie dancer in a circus where she is very fetching,
if chubby. She's also a part-time shake-down artist with a partner, the sleazy Slick. The
circus owner blackmails Tira into performing a dangerous lion-taming act -- since Tira is
as talented at "taming" the lions as she is at taming her human
"beasts," the act is a huge success. Tira becomes a "slumming" treat
for the New York Society crowd, including wealthy cousins Kirk and Jack (Kent Taylor and
Cary Grant). While playing the gold digger with Kirk, Tira also makes a play for the dishy
Jack. Eventually her romance with Kirk is revealed to be a diversion for him -- he has a
high class fiancée -- but Jack takes up Tira's romantic slack. Due to a misunderstanding,
Tira thinks Jack has jilted her. She sues for Breach of Promise, setting West up for a
very funny courtroom scene, as the defense parades all of Tira's old amours before the
judge. Tira shoots them down by proving that she gave satisfaction to all! The final
witness is Tira's maid (Beulah, of "peel me a grape" fame) -- who, under oath,
admits that Tira really loves Jack, an admission which brings them together.
West is very saucy in this film -- although she looks even
older than Cary than in SHE DONE HIM WRONG. She has some wonderful scenes with her maids
and a couple of dynamite costumes, including the infamous spider-web dress, as she lures
her suckers into her web of love! Cary doesn't have much to do in either film but stand
around and look fabulous -- which he does to perfection! Neither of these films shows what
Cary was capable of as a comic actor -- or as a leading man. His love scenes with Mae
verge on parody at times, which, of course, they are: West was, above all, a satirist.
Cary is pure beef-cake and not much more, but he looks especially fetching in his formal
evening wear -- and what more could anyone want?
Film Review - October 17, 1933
- by "Land"
- submitted by Barry Martin
'I'm No Angel' is going to help
redistribute a nice chunk of the nation's coin. That the Mae
West film is going to make tubs of coin was crystal-clear opening day
at the Paramount. Ushers were riding herd on a permanent corral
of waitees in the lobby.
As to quality, 'I'm No Angel' can stand
alone, although without 'She Done Him Wrong' as a benediction an a
million bucks' worth of assorted publicity, high-brow and hoi polloi,
the gross probably wouldn't reach the big brackets now looming.
Also it's fairly obvious that the same plot mechanics and situations
without Mae West wouldn't be a motion picture at all. But that's
no criticism. Simply chronicling the fact that it's all Miss
West plus a good directing job by Wesley Ruggles and first rate studio
production quality in all departments.
Comedy detail has been adroitly worked
out and the picture is strongly fortified on laughs, all derived from
the West innuendos and the general good-natured bawdiness of the
heroine, whose progress from a carnival mugg-taker to a deluxe
millionaire-annexer is marked by a succession of gentlemen friends,
mostly temporary and usually suckers. When reaching affluence
the carnival gal is serviced by four colored maids in an
ultra-penthouse and garbed in the flashy manner of an Oriental
potentate's pampered pet.
Every now and again Mae West bursts
into a song, generally just a chorus or a strain. They're of the
Frankie and Johnny genre, but primarily she plays a lion tamer, not a
Needless to say this opus will scarcely
get on the reformers' recommended lists. But with the tide
running the opposite way perhaps the spleen of the moralists isn't
such a factor right now. And anyway, Mae West is today the
biggest conversation-provoker, free space grabber and all-around box office
bet in the country. She's as hot an issue as Hitler.
NEW YORK TIMES Film Review - October
- by Mordaunt
- submitted by Barry Martin
Arrayed in a variety of
costumes which set off her sinuous form, Mae West is appearing at the
Paramount in her latest screen vehicle, "I'm No Angel," a
title which, as might be surmised, fits the leading character. Here
Miss West, who wrote the story herself from "suggestions
contributed" by Lowell Brentano, is beheld as a circus beauty
named Tira, who wins applause and admiration by risking her blond head
in a lion's mouth twice daily.
It is a rapid-fire entertainment,
with shameless but thoroughly contagious humor, and one in which
Tira is always the mistress of the situation, whether it be in
the cage with wild beasts, in her boudoir with admirers or in a
court of law.
Tira is ever ready with a flip
double entente, and she permits no skeleton to be found behind
her cupboard doors. She has an emphatic personality, which
proves a magnet for even social lights with millions. Se
receives costly presents, including diamond necklaces, but she
is hardly a gold-digger. She refrains from posing, preferring to
keep her natural slangy speech in her journey through the story
from a tent to a penthouse.
She admits that she has thrown
discretion to the winds and she sometimes finds herself in an
awkward predicament, but through a wily lawyer she succeeds in
proving that she is guiltless. The feeble parts of this picture
are those in which a criminal known as Slick is introduced. The
less one sees of him the better one feels, for the production is
interesting only as long as it proceeds on its merry route.
The glimpses of Tira making her
impressive entry to the circus arena and then proceeding to the
big cage with the roaring lions are depicted shrewdly. Tira does
not actually stick her whole head in the lion's mouth, but
contents herself by putting her face between the beast's jaws,
which is quite enough. Even this is set forth with a certain
degree of fun, and one feels that Tira probably has a pistol
ready for an emergency and that other circus employee are ready
to shoot in the event that the beast starts to close its mouth.
But one is apt to wonder whether they could possibly be quick
enough. Society among the spectators is thrilled, all except one
snobbish girl, who is furious because her fiancé is very
enthusiastic over the performer's courage - and her beauty.
Later there comes the time when
Tira puts her fair head into a court of law as the plaintiff in
a breach-of-promise case. She sues Jack Clayton, whom she really
loves, for $1,000,000, and it is not Tira's artful counsel who
wins the case, but the circus queen herself. She cross-examines
the defendant's witnesses and turns their testimony in her own
favor, the unusual proceeding being countenanced by a judge
whose sympathy Tira wins with the utmost ease.
Miss West plays her part with the
same brightness and naturalness that attended her send film
role. There is no lack of spontaneity in her actions or in the
utterance of her lines. She is a remarkable wit, after her
fashion. Cary Grant is pleasing as Clayton and Walter Walker is
excellent as the considerate old judge. Gregory Ratoff does well
as Tira's lawyer. Wesley Ruggles has directed the film with his
Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot
Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
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