Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

She Done Him Wrong (1933)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

She Done Him Wrong (1933)

In director Lowell Sherman's classic comedy - it provided another of voluptuous Mae West's funny vehicles as an excuse to throw off unabashed one liners, brazen and naughty innuendoes and sexy double-entendres, and other liberated quips; It was buxom Mae West's star-making, most famous film role as a liberated, racy woman who enjoyed her sexuality. The actress' main goals were to demolish the double standard, to be sexually frank, and to end prudery on screen. Its melodramatic-comic story involving white slavery and an unlikely romance between a Gay Nineties saloon singer and a Salvation Army officer/undercover cop - the film deeply worried censorship officials and helped to speed the enforcement of the Code in the next year:

  • bejeweled chanteuse and brash entertainer Lady Lou (Mae West) worked in the 1890s Bowery bar-room saloon of her boss and benefactor Gus Jordan (Noah Beery, Sr.), "Gus Jordan's Place," who had given her many diamonds (hence her nickname Diamond Lil). There was a large nude painting of Lady Lou over the bar - it was the audience's first view of the star performer
  • Lady Lou was the object of many other admiring males, including Gus, shyster Dan Flynn (David Landau), and others
  • Gus (who was running for Sheriff) secretly trafficked in white slavery (prostitution) and ran a counterfeiting ring (to help finance Lou's expensive diamonds); Gus worked with two other crooked entertainer-assistants, Russian accomplices: Rita (Rafaela Ottiano) and Serge Stanieff (Gilbert Roland) - Rita's suave boyfriend-lover (who also admired Lou)

Shyster Dan Flynn (David Landau)

Owner of Saloon Gus Jordan (Noah Beery, Sr.)

Gus' Two Crooked Russian Accomplices: (l to r) Serge and Rita

First Appearance of Lady Lou (Mae West) In a Carriage
  • next door to the saloon was a city mission (a thinly-disguised Salvation Army), whose young missionary director, Captain Cummings (Cary Grant) was, in reality (later revealed) an undercover agent working to infiltrate and expose the illegal activities in the bar
  • one day in Jordan's barroom, depressed young Sally Glynn (Rochelle Hudson) entered with torn clothes. (Was she pregnant?) In silhouette, the pretty runaway had attempted to commit suicide but was prevented. To recover after failing to kill herself after a failed romance with a married man, she was brought to Lou's upstairs room to recover; it appeared to be fateful luck when Rita expressed an interest in the innocent but wronged girl, by offering her a 'song and dance' job on the Barbary Coast. However, Rita was only thinking of how Sally might become useful to their 'white slavery' operation (possibly as part of their corrupt racket to use her as a pick-pocket or as a prostitute)
  • Lou's past was uncovered when she heard from her forgotten former boyfriend Chick Clark (Owen Moore). He had been was convicted for robbery and went to Sing Sing prison for trying to steal diamonds for her (after being set up by Flynn; Flynn was also trying to expose Jordan's criminality, take over the saloon, and run for the office of Sheriff himself
  • meanwhile, Lou was more smitten and attracted to the young handsome, psalm-singing Captain Cummings from the next-door mission, and invited him to visit her in her apartment, with two variations on her famous come-on line: "Why don't you come up sometime 'n see me?"
Lady Lou's Famous Two Invitations to Captain Cummings

"Why don't you come up sometime 'n see me?"

"Why don't you come up sometime, huh?"
  • when Lou Lady visited ex-boyfriend Chick in his Sing Sing jail cell, he rightly suspected that Lady Lou had been untrue and unfaithful to him during his incarceration; he threatened her, and let it be known that he expected to soon escape
  • Lou bought the next-door Mission building's mortgage/rent for $12,000 when the bar was about to close for not paying rent, offering her large diamond bracelet as payment; it was meant as a way to lure Captain Cummings closer to her
  • Lou was tipped off by Flynn that Gus' illegal operations (including counterfeiting) had been found out by a slick undercover agent ("dick") nicknamed "The Hawk" ("the slickest bird in the business")

Lou Tipped Off by Flynn About Gus' Illegal Operations and "The Hawk"

Lou with Capt. Cummings in Her Apartment

Lou to Capt.: "Come up again, anytime"
  • Lou was also informed by bodyguard Spider Kane (Dewey Robinson) that Chick, who missed her and his freedom, had escaped from jail, and was in the area
  • Captain Cummings also called on Lady Lou in her upstairs quarters to ask about the fate and whereabouts of Sally - who had been sold by Rita (into slavery?). Lou claimed that she knew very little about Sally Glynn's current situation; as he was leaving, she stopped him at the door, and when he tried to kiss her, she deflected his attempt but offered another invitation: "Come up again, anytime"
  • meanwhile, police arrived at the club to search for escaped con Chick, who stealthily entered Lou's bedroom window, and threatened to choke and strangle her, but was dissuaded when Lou promised to meet him later in the evening after her performance in the show
  • at the same time, Serge arrived to romance Lou with the gift of a diamond pin (it belonged to Rita); jealous Rita walked in on him pinning her diamond on Lou's bodice and planting a brief kiss on Lou's lips. Their kiss was aborted by the upset and furious Rita with a sharp knife, who demanded the diamond stick pin and in the struggle, Lou accidentally stabbed Rita to death in the abdomen. Lou had her bodyguard Spider dispose of Rita's body, while she would take to the stage to sing "A Guy What Takes His Time"
  • as the film concluded after Lou returned to the saloon to sing "Frankie and Johnny," shots rang out as Chick killed Flynn in the saloon. The gunfire drew a police raid upon the establishment; Cummings revealed himself to Gus as the undercover federal agent "The Hawk" with a badge, arrested Gus and Serge and sent them to jail to end their criminal operations and activities; Chick was also shot when wielding a gun at Lou, and apprehended by the Hawk and his men during the confrontation

"The Hawk" Arresting Gus

Apprehending Lou

Taking Lou Away in a Horse-Drawn Carriage
  • last but not least, the Hawk pulled out handcuffs for Lou to arrest her and take her to jail for her association with the criminals; instead of placing Lou in the police wagon, the Hawk took Lou away to 'prison' in an open, horse-drawn carriage
  • instead of handcuffing her, though, he had another alternative - he put his own diamond ring on her finger, and then threatened 'jailing her' with a marital proposal that she gladly accepted

Lady Lou's Nude Painting Over Saloon Bar

Lady Lou in Her Apartment with Black Maid Pearl (Louise Beavers)

Near-Suicidal Sally Glynn (Rochelle Hudson) Comforted by Lou

Lady Lou's Stroll Down Row of Sing Sing Prison Cells

Former Boyfriend Chick Threatening Lou For Being Unfaithful to Him

Lou on Stage Singing: "Easy Rider"

Chick Threatening to Strangle Lou

Lou Being Wooed by Serge with a Diamond Pin

Lou Singing: "Frankie and Johnny"


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