Daniel Briggs, Robert Sullivan, Warner G.Toub (executive) for Crown International
directed by Ken Hughes
starring Mae West, Timothy Dalton, Dom DeLuise, Tony Curtis, Ringo Starr, George Hamilton, Alice Cooper, Keith Allison, Rona Barrett, Van McCoy, Keith Moon, Regis Philbin, Walter Pidgeon, George Raft, Gil Stratton, Harry Weiss, Rick Leonard, June Fairchild, George E. Carey, Ed Beheler, Derek Murcott, William Beckley, Ed Nes, Jay B.Larson, Richard Peel, Ian Abercrombie, James Bacon, Peter Alexander, Jill Freeman, Jason Cooper, Calvin Bartlett, Brent Williams, Brian Abadie, Ric Drasin, Danny Gable, Reg Lewis, Jim Morris, Kal Szkalak, Jim Tarleton, John Austin, Klair Bybe, Roger Callard
screenplay by Herbert Baker, based on the play Sextet by Mae West, music by Artie Butler
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American movie bombshell Marlo Manners (Mae West) has just married her
sixth husband, Lord Michael Barrington (Timothy Dalton) in London and the
two spend their wedding night in a posh hotel, right next-door to an
international peace conference - unfortunately, a final declaration of the conference is blocked by the Russian ambassador
Alexei (Tony Curtis), Marlo's third husband, and he is only willing to
rethink his decision for a date with Marlo ... and her agent Turner (Dom
DeLuise), who also has ties with the CIA, desperately (and in the end
successfully) tries to convince her to give in to Alexei's demands.
Then there is Marlo's fourth husband, director Laszlo (Beatles
drummer Ringo Starr), who desperately wants to shoot another film with
her, a dress designer (The Who drummer Keith Moon) who insists she
tries on his dresses exactly at her wedding night, Marlo's fifth
husband, the thought-dead gangster Vance Norton (George Hamilton), who
insists she's still married to him (and she can't tell if she divorced him
if her life depended on it - and incidently it does), a tape with her
memoirs that would embarass half the world leaders at the peace conference
(which of course is ultimately played at the conference), the American
Olympic team, ... all things destined to keep Marlo and Lord Barrington
from consummating their marriage - to a point where Barrington just leaves
their hotel and retreats to his yacht ... but ultimately, Marlo puts a few
wrongs right, takes care of the whole situation, and in the end, she
follows Barrington to his yacht, where they can you-know-what undisturbed
by the outer world ...
Rocker Alice Cooper plays a waiter who is allowed to sing a romantic
(but forgettable) song towards the end.
Mae West's very last film, and apparently she was getting on a bit by
1978 ... but considering she was 85 (!!!) when this was made and her role
would demand a woman half her age max, she's doing amazingly well (and
doesn't look a day older than 60), and most of her oneliners - including
her legendary "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to
see me", a quote that she made famour in 1936, but never used in a
film until Sextette - are still as provocative as ever and spot-on.
Unfortunately though, this is more than one could say about the film's
direction which simply enough fails to realize the comic and provocative
potential of the script and often enough wastes the comic potential of a
scene (including some of West's great oneliners) in favour of cheap
sight-gags. And then, there are those terrible disco musical numbers ...
Timothy Dalton simply can't sing, Alice Cooper's talent is completely
wasted in disco, and Mae West handles her songs better than could be
expected from someone aged 85 - but that doesn't change the fact that the
songs are terribly arranged and terribly written.
Mae West would have deserved a much better film as her last ever film
(she died two years after this), still it's thrilling to see a woman of
her age still on the top of the game ...
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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