Friday, September 02, 2011


Sextette is a 1978 Crown International Pictures comedy/musical motion picture starring Mae West. Others in the cast include Timothy Dalton, Dom DeLuise, Tony Curtis, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, George Hamilton, Alice Cooper and Walter Pidgeon.

Directed by Ken Hughes, produced by Daniel Briggs, Robert Sullivan and Harry Weiss for the production company Briggs and Sullivan, the script was by Herbert Baker based on the play Sextet by Mae West. Costumes were designed by Edith Head.

Filmed at Paramount Studios, Sextette was Mae West's final movie. Featured are cameos by Rona Barrett, Regis Philbin and George Raft playing themselves. West made her movie debut in Raft's Night After Night (1932).


Legendary American movie star and sex symbol Marlo Manners (Mae West) is in London, England, where she has just married for the sixth time. She and her new husband, Sir Michael Barrington (Timothy Dalton), then depart for a honeymoon suite at a posh and exclusive hotel that has been reserved for them by her manager, Dan Turner (Dom DeLuise).

The hotel is also the location of an international conference, where leaders have come together to resolve tensions and problems that threaten the survival of the world. As the chairman, Mr. Chambers (Walter Pidgeon) is trying to call the meeting to order, the delegates are crowding to the windows in an effort to catch a glimpse of Marlo when she arrives.

As they enter the lobby, Marlo, now Lady Barrington, and her nobleman husband are swarmed by admirers and reporters. When asked, "Do you get a lot of proposals from your male fans?" she quips, "Yeah, and what they propose is nobody’s business."

Once inside their suite, the couple are unable to go to bed and have sex because of constant interruptions due to the demands of her career, such as interviews, dress fittings and photo sessions, as well as the various men, including some former husbands, diplomat Alexei Andreyev Karansky (Tony Curtis), director Laslo Karolny (Ringo Starr), gangster Vance Norton (George Hamilton), and an entire athletic team from the U.S., who all want to have sex with her.

Meanwhile, Turner desperately searches for an audiotape containing his client's memoirs, in order to destroy it. Marlo has recorded extensive details about her affairs and scandals, with a lot of dirt about her husbands and lovers. Ex-husband Alexei, who is the Russian delegate at the conference, threatens to derail the intense negotiations unless he can have another sexual encounter with her. Marlo is expected to work "undercover" to ensure world peace.

Critical reaction

An adaptation of Mae West's Broadway musical of the same name is considered by some to be one of the most embarrassing sex comedies ever made, which Variety dubbed "a cruel, unnecessary and mostly unfunny musical comedy," as an overweight 84-year old (at the time of filming) West maintained her sex kitten role while uttering stale quips as "I'm the girl who works for Paramount all day, and Fox all night" (an earlier version of the scene had much raunchier dialogue), and who croaked a duet with new sixth husband Sir Michael Barrington (a 32-year old Timothy Dalton) a disco rendition of "Love Will Keep Us Together."

Regardless of the quality of the film, the almost riotous acclaim afforded her by thousands of young fans, by which she was deeply moved when she appeared in her large diamond tiara and necklace at the openings of the film in Hollywood and in San Francisco (where she was called Queen of the World), was an unmistakable confirmation of her indestructible position as an American show business icon.


Nevertheless, Sextette became the source of several cruel urban legends. One such persistent rumor is that Mae West could not remember any of her lines and had to wear a concealed earpiece under her wig to have her lines fed to her. Dom Deluise, Timothy Dalton and other principal players have disputed that claim; however Tony Curtis has supported it, retelling the story in an episode of the program The Dame Edna Experience. He further stated that because of the frequency of her earpiece she accidentally picked up police frequencies, and at one point mistakenly stated "There's a 608!"

Dom DeLuise has stated many times that Curtis's claims "never happened." Deluise's opinion is lent credence by the fact that he filmed most of the scenes with West. Curtis states in the same interview that West was 92 while filming. (She was 84.) Curtis also has stated that Miss West wrote his part especially for him (although that was not true).

Another rumor is that West had a cane concealed under her long gown so that she could walk, and there are tales that after one scene West stayed in an elevator waiting for hours for the crew to call her out.

Cast (in order of appearance)

* Mae West - Marlo Manners/Lady Barrington
* Timothy Dalton - Sir Michael Barrington
* Dom DeLuise - Dan Turner
* Tony Curtis - Alexei Andreyev Karansky
* Ringo Starr - Laslo Karolny
* George Hamilton - Vance Norton
* Alice Cooper - Waiter
* Van McCoy - Delegate
* Keith Moon - Dress Designer
* Walter Pidgeon - Mr. Chambers
* Rona Barrett - Herself
* Regis Philbin - Himself
* George Raft - Himself
* Gil Stratton - Himself