She Done Him Wrong (1933)
I think most people agree that Mae West’s first starring vehicle She Done Him Wrong is also her best film.It was based on her Broadway stage hit Diamond Lil (the reputation of which was so controversial Paramount changed its title even BEFORE the new Production Code.) As can be expected there’s a lot of pre-marital or just plain UN-marital sex hinted at, and some of it out and out talked about. It’s set in a Bowery saloon during the 1890s. One of my favorite parts of the film is Mae’s two songs: a hot rendition of the old traditional song “Frankie and Johnny” and an equally sizzling version of the Shelton Brooks song “I Wonder Where My Easy Rider’s Gone”, first popularized by Sophie Tucker.
It features Cary Grant in one of his first big roles as a Salvation Army mission worker (who turns out to have some deeper layers). Also in the cast are former silent star Owen Moore (Mary Pickford’s first husband), Gilbert Roland, Noah Beery Jr, and David Landau (a familiar face in 30s movies. Sharp viewers will recognize him from Horse Feathers).