Mae West: Dirty Blonde (2020)

Director: Julia Marchesi, Sally Rosenthal

Writer(s): N/A

Starring: Jim Bailey, Gina Barreca, Rona Barrett, Jeanine Basinger, Harry Beresford, Candice Bergen, Joseph I. Breen, Mario Cantone, Paul Cavanagh, George Chauncey, Margaret Cho, Charles Collingwood, Alice Cooper, Nigel De Brulier, Guido Deiro, Guido Roberto Deiro, Rick DesRochers, Marlene Dietrich, Thomas Doherty, Duke Ellington, W.C. Fields, Cary Grant, Hilary Hallett, Marybeth Hamilton, Jean Harlow, Molly Haskell, Will Hays, Russell Hopton, Gertrude Howard, Margo Jefferson, William “Gorilla” Jones, Herbert Kenwith, The Lady Bunny, Natasha Lyonne, Tim Malachosky, Gertrude Michael, Keith Moon, Chester Morris, Kathy Najimy, Emily Nussbaum, Charles Pierce, Roger Pryor, George Raft, Claudia Roth Pierpont, Craig Russell, Jessica Savitch, George Schlatter, Randolph Scott, Red Skelton, Ringo Starr, André Leon Talley, Libby Taylor, Kevin Thomas, Dita Von Teese, Walter Walker, Mel Watkins, Jill Watts, John Wayne, Mae West, Chalky Wright, Pamela Wojcik

Synopsis: Mae West achieved great acclaim in every entertainment medium that existed during her lifetime, spanning eight decades of the 20th century. A full-time actress at seven, a vaudevillian at 14, a dancing sensation at 25, a Broadway playwright at 33, a silver screen ingénue at 40, a Vegas nightclub act at 62, a recording artist at 73, a camp icon at 85 – West left no format unconquered. She possessed creative and economic powers unheard of for a female entertainer in the 1930’s and still rare today. Though she was a comedian, West grappled with some of the more complex social issues of the 20th century, including race and class tensions, and imbued even her most salacious plot lines with commentary about gender conformity, societal restrictions and what she perceived as moral hypocrisy. American Masters – Mae West: Dirty Blonde is the first major documentary film to explore West’s life and career, as she “climbed the ladder of success rung by rung” to become a writer, performer and subversive agitator for social change. Produced and directed by Sally Rosenthal and Julia Marchesi.

Release Date: June 16, 2020 (USA) | Length: 83 min | Genre: Biography, History | MPAA Rating: TV-14

Note: The documentary will be part of PBS’ American Masters series.