Crown International Pictures Director: Ken Hughes Daniel Briggs and Robert Sullivan Mae West 1976 91 minutes Mae West, Timothy Dalton, Dom DeLuise, Ringo Starr, Tony Curtis, George Hamilton, Keith Moon, Alice Cooper, George Raft
Sextette was Mae Wests last film and was made at the request and for the enjoyment of her legion of fans. Based on her stage play of the same name, it had been Maes ambition to film it for many years.
Mae was 83 years old when she set out to make Sextette. It is said that she was delighted to be making the film and was enthusiastic about the project at the outset. However, seven years had passed since her amazing appearance in Myra Breckinridge and her health had taken a natural turn for the worse in the interim. So what started out as something to be enjoyed, the filming proved to be a strain on Miss West and she was glad when it was finally complete.
Sextette is a romp - as camp as a row of tents - and surely not intended to be taken seriously. Those who did so, simply missed the point. Maes lines and delivery still find their mark and those whove seen the film in the cinema will testify that she gets all the laughs she intended to. The biggest hoot - and the most shocking line in the film is her quip, direct to camera Im the kind of girl who works for Paramount all day - and Fox all night!.
There is a lovely scene with George Raft who made a cameo appearance in the film, playing himself. Mae seems completely restored to her former glory in this brief scene with her old pal. George Raft died shortly after the filming.
Another scene where Mae is in excellent form is in the gym where she parries quips with the muscle-bound US Olympic Team. For example, when told that one of the men is a pole-vaulter, she retorts Oh, arent we all!. Mae is quite clearly in her element "working out with the boys" and her performance benefits from her obvious enjoyment in being surrounded by all that "meat and no potatoes"!
The film has some great - and totally OTT - musical moments, not least the high-camp rendition of Hooray for Hollywood at Maes first entrance. She also sings After Youve Gone and Happy Birthday Twenty One.
many of the clothes worn by Mae in the film were from her own wardrobe, both personal and proffesional. Great fun can be had in trying to place them - look out for gowns from her Vegas days and from the stage production of Sextette.
The film premiered in both Los Angeles and San Francisco and Mae attended both. She was mobbed by her fans on each occasion and her appearance was simply stunning. For a while it looked as though the film might have some success but the initial good box office quickly ebbed and a distribution deal was never secured.
Maes last hoorah, the film was intended as a gift to her fans. But it was just one of her many marvellous gifts to them over all the years - but never the last, because shell go on giving pleasure forever, captured on film for the rest of time.
Edith Head responded to the call to design some of Miss Wests gowns for Sextette. It turned out, however, that