Mae West in “Every Day’s a Holiday”

every-days-a-holiday-movie-poster-1937-1010197697[1] December 18, 1937 was the release date of the Mae West comedy Every Day’s a Holiday, directed by Eddie Sutherland.

From a certain perspective Every Day’s a Holiday is Mae’s last proper starring vehicle of the classic studio era. My Little Chickadee (1940) and The Heat’s On (1943) each contain disqualifying elements of one kind or another (she shares billing with W.C. Fields in the former; she gets very little screen time in the latter.)

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After the uncharacteristic Go West, Young Man (1936) Every Day’s a Holiday represents a return to Mae’s familiar Gay 90s/ New York territory of her early films, but is a bit broader and cleaner (with the Hays Code now in full flower). It’s kind of a nice way for her to round out her initial run as a solo star although it’s sad it ended so early.

Sutherland’s touch isn’t perfect. I’m not over-crazy about the supporting cast playing their parts so broadly comical as they do in this film (there had been no need for that in She Done Him Wrong, for example). But at least Mae didn’t end her solo career on the discordant note set by Go West, Young Man, which would have been unfortunate.

In Every Day’s a Holiday Mae plays Peaches O’Day, wanted by police for repeatedly selling the Brooklyn Bridge to suckers. It opens on New Years Eve, 1900 — the dawn of a new century. Crooked police commissioner and mayoral aspirant Honest John (Lloyd Nolan) was spurned in the past so now he wants Peaches arrested for good. Now she is on the lam. The good looking detective assigned to arrest her tends to be kind-hearted so she keeps slipping away from the authorities. He exiles her to Boston, but not before she has ridden in a cab driven by Chester Conklin, where encounters an automobile driven by Charles Butterworth and his silly millionaire boss (Charles Winninger).

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Hustler/producer Walter Catlett gets her to return in disguise in her new show, Ooh La La. She pretends to ba French diva named Mademoiselle Fifi. The police chief falls in love with her. When she won’t date him he closed down the theatre so she does date him and when his back is turned she steals her rap sheet and burns it. she then runs the detective for mayor. He is kidnapped for awhile but emerges just in time to win the election. There is a huge parade and celebration featuring Louis Armstrong. Mae rides away with her triumphant boyfriend.

Oh if only there’d been more Mae West films!

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