Every Day’s a Holiday (1937)

 “I’m so temperamental, I upset myself.”

every-dayIn Every Day’s a Holiday, it’s Old New York, 1899. Con woman/vaudeville actress Peaches O’Day (Mae West) is arrested 25 times within a short period of time. Her specialty is selling the Brooklyn Bridge to those naive enough to hand over the cash for her vaguely worded receipt. After Peaches brushes off the slimy attentions of the corrupt Inspector of Police Quade (Lloyd Nolan), he becomes vindictive. Since Peaches is a wanted woman in New York, well-meaning policeman Captain McCarey (Edmund Lowe) gives her a one-way ticket to Boston. Peaches sneaks back to New York as “Mademoiselle Fifi”–the raven-haired sensation from Paris (“They’re crazy about me in Paris. They want me back. In fact there’s a reward out”).

Quade sees Mademoiselle Fifi swinging her hips on stage, hears that fake French accent, and immediately falls for her charms. She rebuffs his clumsy, self-important advances, but when he threatens to shut down her show, she decides to teach him a lesson. In one of the best scenes in the film, she descends on Quade’s office. She vacillates between allowing Quade to worship her and staging temper tantrums that include smashing up his office. Quade is so fascinated, he makes a complete idiot of himself in the process.

Since Quade is running for the job of Mayor of New York, Mademoiselle Fifi throws in her lot with the Reform Committee with McCarey as an alternative candidate to Quade. She becomes McCarey’s campaign manager (“Why he’s so honest, I’m ashamed of myself”), and Louis Armstrong even grabs his trumpet and joins in the fun.

When Every Day’s a Holiday is not concentrating on Mae West, the comedic elements slide into buffoonery, but it’s all good natured fun, and it’s a change of pace for the Mae West fan to see the icon cast as a petty criminal who carries brass knuckles in her bag. From director A. Edward Sutherland.

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