Paramount Pictures
Henry Hathaway
Emanuel Cohen
Mae West
31 November 1936
82 minutes
Mae West, Warren Williams, Randolph Scott, Alice Brady, Elizabeth Patterson and Isobel Jewell
“Go West Young Man” is a charming little film which, although thin on plot, has a lot of good laughs and is a perfect vehicle for Mae’s personality. She plays the part of movie star, Mavis Arden, who spends the entire film trying desperately to have a love life only to be thwarted by Morgan, a press agent assigned to her by A K Greenfield, President of Superfine (do we hear Mae pronounce that “stupifyin”?) Pictures incorporated. Morgan is, of course, madly in love with Mavis and, as Hollywood tradition dictates, he gets his woman in the last real.
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The film has a great opening sequence where we get to see a film (“Drifting Lady”) within a film and Mae, in character, sings “On a Typical Tropical Night”, supported by Xavier Cugat and his orchestra.
Most of the action, however, takes place in a guest house in the middle of no-where when Mavis’ (actually Mae’s) Rolls Royce mysteriously breaks down en route to a tryst with her latest beaux. Morgan arranges for Mavis to be put up in the guest house for the night whist the car gets fixed. Mavis can’t wait to get out of the joint until she catches sight of Bud, the incredibly handsome mechanic charged with fixing her car. The part of Bud is played superbly by Randolph Scott (of whom legend has it that he was better hung than his horse!).
Mae is at her predatory best in her scenes with Scott. She practically undresses him as she looks him over. And in the scene where he’s showing her his “invention” you can just tell that she can’t wait to get her hands on it!

She sings three songs in total, including the lovely, “I Was Saying to the Moon” for which scene she was most beautifully lit and photographed by Karl Struss. The song begins as a beautiful love song and then Mae swings it as she circles her prey (in the form of the unsuspecting and naive Scott) and then descends on him for the kill. The scene is absolutely hilarious and wonderfully well played by both stars.

“Go West Young Man” seems always to get a bad press when Mae’s films are being critiqued. This is a shame because the film is really good fun - and it’s a real joy to see Mae ready to send herself up quite outrageously as the temperamental and OTT movie star.