In I'm No Angel, Mae West's second star vehicle, she's sideshow attraction Tira, "the girl who discovered you don't have to have feet to be a dancer." As usual, West wrote all her own dialogue for the film, and it's full o... more »f priceless wisecracks. A crowd of men ogles her as she tosses off a saucy little number, "They Call Me Sister Honky Tonk," swinging her hips phlegmatically. Then she slithers offstage, muttering "Suckers." Bored with life, Tira consults a fortuneteller. "I see a man in your future," he drones. "What, only one?" quips Mae. Tira wants to quit the carnival, so her boss (an unctuous Edward Arnold) makes her a proposition. If she'll become the show's lion tamer, she can meet "the swells." Just one little thing: she's got to put her head in the lion's mouth. (West insisted on performing this stunt herself, to the horror of Paramount Pictures' executives.) Enter Cary Grant as Jack Clayton, an aristocrat who falls for this floozie from the wrong side of the tracks. Some of the film's merriest scenes show Tira and her five black maids having a ball dancing and singing as she prepares for her dates with Jack. (West made it her business to keep as many of her black girlfriends working in movies as possible.) Tira's head maid, Beulah, played by Gertrude Michael, is the object of that momentous line "Oh, Beulah, peel me a grape." Mae slays 'em all in this picture, dressed, as always, in fabulously flamboyant finery. --Laura Mirsky« less
""I'm No Angel" is widely considered to be the film which saved Paramount Pictures from bankruptcy;it also contains hilarious double ententres written by that great shady lady of the screen - Mae West.From beginning to end, this movie is a real gem; this was made before the censors made her "tone done" her ribald style which most of the public loved and could'nt get enough of. Miss West was forty, fat and feisty; she was a cinema original the likes of which the public had never seen before (or since)-she made prudes blush,and prissy women giggle at the same time.Here she plays carny gal Tira, who, for a healthy hunk of change, actually gets into a cage and puts her pretty little head into a lion's mouth! Tira camps it up with her plump black maids and says to one "Beaulah,peel me a grape",a line which spoofs everything. Catch her scene with the lady-like Gertrude Michael-it's a riot- as is the courtroom scene where she puts every man in his place and wins the admiration of the judge.The29 year- old Cary Grant is ONE of her many love interests and he's the guy she ends up with.Recommended viewing for young and old alike;Mae was liberated and saucy,but she always had a heart of gold and there's nothing truly offensive about her famous wisecracks;she made fun of sex and in 1933 the movies grew up a little- in 1999 she's still fascinating to watch!"
"I'm Very Quick in a Slow Way"
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 03/21/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps her best film, "I'm No Angel" (1933) finds Mae West at full suggestive power before the Production Code reared its ugly head. Immortal one-liners abound in this fascinating social satire, with romantic support from a young Cary Grant and Mae's inimitable rendition of "They Call Me Sister Honky Tonk." A Depression-era classic directed with stylish flair by Wesley Ruggles."
Best of West
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 04/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mae West was an unlikely sex symbol. She was a small woman with a face that defied most standards of beauty and an unremarkable body--and by the time she hit film she was edging into middle age. But as West herself might have said, it ain't what ya got, its what ya do with it. If anybody knew what to do with it, Mae West certainly did, and I'M NO ANGEL finds her doing it in remarkably fine style indeed.The story and script, by West herself, is hilariously improbable. West stars as Tira, a carny entertainer who divides her work between a hootchie coochie act (which gives her the opportunity to perform a sizzling "They Call Me Sister Honky Tonk") and a lion taming act--but when she runs afoul of a small town romeo she hits the road for New York, where she captivates both city and Cary Grant with her circus act. Needless to say, there are comic complications galore, but like the Mounties, Mae West always gets her man.West did a number of justly famous films during the 1930s, but I'M NO ANGEL is arguably her best, salted with with one memorable quip after another as she cracks whips, snubs snobs, frolicks with her maids ("Peel me a grape!"), and waylays the willing Cary Grant with considerable aplomb. If you've never seen a Mae West movie but have always wondered what made her a great star, this is the film to see!"
Lots of Laughs
Fernando Silva | Santiago de Chile. | 10/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mae West is outrageously funny as "Tira" the lion tamer, a woman supposed to be completely irresistible to all men. Her smart wisecracks, full of double-entendres were her trademark, and here they're at full display, just before the Production Code's censorship toned down her lines, which were written by herself.Her hip-swaying, her moans and fluttering eyelashes, etc., are a joy to behold...her lines, spoken with her woman-of-the-world-reassuredness are top-notch. Her scenes with her maids are especially funny, because they're full of non-stop wisecracks about us men. A must!!A very young Cary Grant plays the object of Mae's affections and Edward Arnold is the circus owner and Mae's employer.The dvd quality is good, although it has no bonus material at all."
The Wild, Wild West
Michael M. Wilk | Howard Beach, NY | 02/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mae West was purportedly quoted as saying, "I fear no man". Whether she actually did, I have no trouble believing it. In "I'm No Angel", Miss West plays "Tira", a carnival hootch dancer who becomes a lion-taming headliner in "The Big Time", and has numerous men orbiting her, like moons around Venus. She is a women completely at ease with herself, fears no one, makes no apologies, and the men love her for it, in spite of themselves. Miss West played, essentially, the same role in real life, the "Bad but not Evil" woman. No beating around the bush for Mae-she told you who she was, what she wanted, take her or leave her-and made you laugh! She was "Women's Lib" in flashy gowns, big hats, and lots of diamonds. There are many of West's famous lines in "I'm No Angel", such as "When I'm good, I'm very, very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better", "Beulah, peel me a grape!", and many more. Her co-star is screen legend Cary Grant, whom Mae selected for 2 of her films on sight. The first was "She Done Him Wrong", and then this one. She said, "He was so good I had him twice-in pictures, I mean." The lady was an original. She was not "beautiful" or slender, but men were drawn to her (her brains being her sexiest feature), progressive (she defended homosexuals long before Stonewall), had interracial friendships and romances (she had lovers of African descent, as well as having black performers in her films), and was still attracting men well into her 70s! She also wrote her own material. So, if you're feeling a bit adventurous, go West, because "You can be had!""