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"I'm No Angel"

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Character's Name: Jack Clayton
Release Date:  October 6, 1933
Director: Wesley Ruggles
Studio:  Paramount Publix
Running Time: 87 minutes

Cast: Mae West (Tira), Cary Grant (Jack Clayton), Edward Arnold (Big Bill Barton), Ralf Harolde (Slick Wiley), Russell Hopton (Barker), Gertrude Michael (Alicia Hatton), Kent Taylor (Kirk), Dorothy Peterson (Thelma), Gregory Ratoff (Benny Pinkowitz), Gertrude Howard (Beulah), William Davidson (The Chump), Nigel de Brulier (Rajah), Irving Pichel (Bob, the Attorney)

I'm No Angel trailer:

- by Zoë Shaw
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 Sweeney

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?

VARIETY 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 songstress.

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 13, 1933
- by Mordaunt Hall
- 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 usual intelligence.  

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