She Done Him Wrong (1933)

Cary Grant and Mae West
Cary Grant and Mae West

'She Done Him Wrong' is a romantic comedy made in 1933, directed by Lowell Sherman and starring Mae West and Cary Grant. It is Mae West's most famous film role, as the diamond-wrapped nightclub owner Lady Lou.

The movie, a smash hit for Paramount, was voted one of the 10 Best Pictures for 1933, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, then known as Outstanding Production. It lasts only 66 minutes, the shortest film ever to be nominated.

In 1996, 'She Done Him Wrong' was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

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In the early 1930's Hollywood - beset with financial difficulties and production problems related to the conversion to sound cinema - turned to stage performers of proven popularity to lure customers back to the theaters. Among the most notable of these was Mae West, whose play 'Diamond Lil (which she wrote as a kind of showcase of her several talents) was immensely successful on Broadway and elsewhere.

West proved a happy choice for Paramount because her unique brand of sophisticated if bawdy humor easily translated on screen; her first film, 'Night After Night' in 1932, was a big hit with audiences. West's antics, especially her famous double entendres and sleazy style, offended religious conservatives of the time and hastened the foundation of the Breen Office in 1934 to enforce the Production Code (promulgated, but widely ignored, in the early 1930's). West's post-1934 films, although interesting, never recaptured the appeal of her earlier work, of which 'She Done Him Wrong' - the screen adaptation of 'Diamond Lil - is the most notable example.

West plays a 'saloon keeper' in New York's Bowery who is involved with various criminals in the neighborhood. As Lady Lou, West is pursued by two local entrepreneurs and her fiance is just released from jail, but she is hardly in need of a man as she inhabits lavish quarters above her establishment, replete with servants and an impressive collection of diamond jewelry.

Lou, however, is smitten by her new neighbor, the head of the Salvation Army Mission, Captain Cummings (Cary Grant). Her initial appraisal of the younger man's attractiveness is part of Hollywood legend. To Grant she utters the famous line 'Why don't you come up sometime, and see me'. As a demonstration of her affection (and power), she uses some of her considerable hoard of diamonds to purchase his mission and make him a present of it. In the end, Grant is revealed as a detective who promptly takes all the crooks into custody, but 'imprisons' Lou quite differently - with a wedding ring. A classic Hollywood comedy, full of naughtiness and good humor.

Main Cast

Mae West ... Lady Lou
Cary Grant ... Captain Cummings
Owen Moore ... Chick Clark
Gilbert Roland ... Serge Stanieff
Noah Beery ... Gus Jordan
David Landau ... Dan Flynn
Rafaela Ottiano ... Russian Rita
Dewey Robinson ... Spider Kane
Rochelle Hudson ... Sally
Tammany Young ... Chuck Connors
Fuzzy Knight ... Rag Time Kelly
Grace La Rue ... Frances
Robert Homans ... Doheney
Louise Beavers ... Pearl


Director ...Lowell Sherman
Producer ... William LeBaron
Story by ... Mae West
Screenplay ... Harvey Thew, John Bright
Initial release ... 3 February, 1933
Run time ... 66 minutes

Academy Awards

One Unsuccessful Nomination:
Best Picture ... Paramount