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Go West Young Man (Movie 1936): Mae in Sexual Charge

Go West Young Man movie Mae West Randolph ScottGo West Young Man movie with Mae West and Randolph Scott. Lawrence Riley’s hit play Personal Appearance became a Mae West star vehicle, with future Western star Randolph Scott as the young man who goes West’s way.
  • Go West Young Man (movie 1936) review: Made during the Production Code era, this amusing Mae West comedy features a few surprisingly risqué situations.

Go West Young Man (movie 1936) review: Hollywood star Mae West teaches country boy Randolph Scott the facts of life

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Although it gets off to a slow start, Go West Young Man is one of Mae West’s better post-Production Code efforts for Paramount.

Directed by Henry Hathaway and written by Mae West herself (from Lawrence Riley’s 1934 hit play Personal Appearance), Go West Young Man stars West (get it?) as temperamental film star Mavis Arden, who is at odds with her press agent, Morgan (Warren William), after falling for suave but boring politician Francis X. Harrigan (Lyle Talbot).

Things take an unexpected turn when, during an appearance tour, Mavis’ chauffeured limousine breaks down on a country road, landing her at a rural guesthouse. At first, Mavis is annoyed with country life, walking through a pigpen and putting up with small-town inconveniences – that is, until she meets the stud-next-door, Bud Norton (Randolph Scott).

Tush aficionada

Needless to say, that encounter gives Mae West the chance to don her best vamping gowns and strut her stuff. Particularly impressive is the way she circles around Scott, checking out his butt. Later on, she manages to let her hand wander back down and pat his tush while they dance.

Even so, as a result of the now-strict Production Code enforcement, West fans will have to look at her earlier films for more memorable double entendres. The only exchange I found provocative takes place between Mavis and Elizabeth Patterson’s character, Aunt Kate Barnaby:

Mavis: “I must be going. I’m usually in bed at this hour.”

Aunt Kate: “This must be one of your off nights.”

Supporting cast offers solid characterizations & appalling caricatures

The Go West Young Man supporting cast is worth mentioning, especially Patterson (Mrs. Trumble in I Love Lucy) as the perpetual old Auntie, dishing out wise advice, and soon-to-become Best Supporting Actress Academy Award winner Alice Brady (In Old Chicago, 1937) as the guesthouse proprietor whose daughter (Margaret Perry) is the fiancée of the muscular but naïve Bud.

Curiously, instead of the usual jovial black maid – see I’m No Angel, Belle of the Nineties – West has a Frenchwoman (Alyce Ardell) as her servant. That “replacement,” however, had nothing to do with race sensitivity, as among the townsfolk one finds Nicodemus (Nick [Nicodemus] Stewart), a stereotypically dumb black man who is nothing but an embarrassment to the proceedings.

One of cinema’s greatest losses

Except for Paramount’s 1937 comedy musical Every Day’s a Holiday and one bright moment at Universal – the 1940 comedy Western My Little Chickadee, costarring W.C. Fields – Mae West’s film stardom was all but over after Go West Young Man.

Once the Production Code censors neutered her, West returned to the stage (e.g., on Broadway, Catherine Was Great and revivals of Diamond Lil).

That remains one of Filmland’s greatest losses.

Go West Young Man (movie 1936) cast & crew

Director: Henry Hathaway.

Screenplay: Mae West.
From Lawrence Riley’s 1934 play Personal Appearance.

Cast: Mae West, Randolph Scott, Warren William, Alice Brady, Elizabeth Patterson, Lyle Talbot, Isabel Jewell, Margaret Perry, Etienne Girardot, Maynard Holmes, Jack La Rue, Xavier Cugat, Raquel Torres, Alyce Ardell, Nick Stewart (as Nicodemus Stewart).

Cinematography: Karl Struss.

Film Editing: Ray Curtiss.

Art Direction: Wiard Ihnen.

Producer: Emanuel Cohen.

Production Company: Major Pictures Corp.

Distributor: Paramount Pictures.

Running Time: 80 min.

Country: United States.

Go West Young Man (Movie 1936): Mae in Sexual Charge” review text © Danny Fortune; excerpt, image captions, bullet point introduction, and notes © Alt Film Guide.

Go West Young Man (Movie 1936): Mae in Sexual Charge” notes

Gladys George lost one, was nominated one

Gladys George starred in Personal Appearance on Broadway; the play ran for 501 performances (October 1934–December 1935). Philip Ober played Bud (Randolph Scott in the film).

Gladys George missed out on the 1936 movie version, but that same year she did land the lead role in Wesley Ruggles’ Valiant Is the Word for Carrie, which earned her a Best Actress Academy Award nomination.

Go West Young Man movie credits via the American Film Institute (AFI) Catalog website.

Mae West and Randolph Scott Go West Young Man movie image: Paramount Pictures.

Go West Young Man (Movie 1936): Mae in Sexual Charge” last updated in April 2023.

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1 comment

Brian Astle -

Anyone know the make/model/year of the “chauffeured limousine ” that appears in the Mae West movie “Go West Young Man”? What a classic!


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