All posts tagged: she done him wrong

Examining the Impact of Censorship on Themes of SHE DONE HIM WRONG

The multifaceted singer, actress, and writer Mae West “found her career on sex.”[1] West claimed her fame through Vaudeville and Broadway, and she made her way onto the big screen in Hollywood where she saw just as much success. Although West was very popular with both men and women due to her strong, feisty personality and comfort with her sexuality, this popularity did not translate to Hollywood’s censors. During the production of She Done Him Wrong, an adaptation of West’s play Diamond Lil starring West herself, the Studio Relations office tweaked many aspects of the film in order to make it acceptable by Code standards. The film centers around West’s character, Lady Lou, a singer who gets mixed up dealing with her past, present, and potential future lovers. The Code review files provide evidence of the effect of the Code and the ways in which it dealt with potential offensive material, specifically the film’s sexual references. Many factors led to the rise of censorship in the film industry. Scandals involving stars and directors “drove Hollywood …