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When the Flapper Dame announced the 2nd annual Standard Price quotes Blogathon, naturally I believed of Mae West, she of the lengthy list of enthroughout one-liners from film.

You are watching: When im good im very good

It’s hard to pick the most iconic of West’s lines, so I won’t try. But definitely, among the most beloved is this: “…when I’m good, I’ve incredibly excellent, but as soon as I’m negative, I’m much better.”

The line is funny enough on its very own, even without West’s fantastic delivery. But it’s also funnier in the scene via Cary Grant from I’m No Angel (1933), once the 2 lovers are describing her performance as a lion tamer in a circus, but obviously addressing a really various sort of performance entirely:

“Ahh, you were wonderful tonight,” he starts, the 2 in each other’s clutches.

“Mmmm. I’m constantly wonderful at night.” (This is so typical of West: a hilarious line prior to an even funnier, more memorable one. A sort of one-2 punch of her humor that never before gets old.)

“Yes, but tonight you were particularly great.”

“Well, when I’m excellent, I’ve incredibly good, yet when I’m poor (a pat on the shoulder for emphasis), I’m better.”

You have the right to view it here (though why you don’t already very own this marvelous film, I have actually no idea.)

What’s exciting to me is what’s left out of the oft-repeated line. The long-drawn out “well” drawl, after all, is so typical of West’s reactions to men’s compliments, and simply as suggestive of sex as the line itself. The point is, you need West’s shipment to pull it off, which is why I assume most drop it when the quote is referenced.

And referenced it is. A Google search on the line brings up a organize of surpincreasing appearances. Just inspect out the tepid “When I’m Bad” by Chumbawamba for an odd one, a perfect instance of just how a lot sexier a line might be virtually a 100 years back than it is now.

If you’ve checked out West’s movies prior to, you’re familiar via her sexually confident heroines, who are at ease expressing lines like this one. West’s heroines were in their late 30s or early 40s through a string of younger lovers. Their the majority of noticeable traits, besides a ridiculous amount of sensuality, is their lack of shame about who they are: their scandalous embrace of sex, their working-class careers, their honesty in the confront of others who want to belittle bit or condescend to them. They are bold, feminist, triumphant, so much fun. Simon Louvish’s Mae West: “It Ain’t No Sin,”begins via a curious list of West’s never-will-dos. Number 7 on the list is particularly interesting to fans of her films:

“Play mother parts, sad components, dumb components, or a virtuous wife, betrayed or otherwise. I pity weak women, good or bad, yet I can’t favor them. A woguy should be solid either in her goodness or badness.”

Sounds favor her famous line, doesn’t it? Undoubtedly, the means she relished and also laughed at sex made West renowned. But it’s her toughness that keeps me enamored, the stamina to compose and also perform such lines, to own her sexuality through such joy. It’s not surprising that she refoffered to play functions that she uncovered unrepresentative of who she was. And I think that’s why this “When I’m good…When I’m bad…” line is so justly renowned, so justly remembered. It’s not only that Tira (West’s character in the film) likes having actually sex with many kind of men–in spite of society’s strong objections to her behavior–however that she owns it. We all reacted with shock when Samantha Jones did the exact same in Sex and also the City, 65 years later on. But both times, our reactivity was the same: We were impressed. We wiburned we could be fifty percent that confident, specifically in the confront of others’ disapproval.

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In the scene, my favorite movement is West’s double pat of Grant. It’s a drumroll of a gesture prior to the last beat of the line, that perfect setup for the finish. It’s almost chummy, that pat, and the expression that acproviders it is so funny. The move is almost–I need to say it–instructional. Hey, honey, in instance you missed it. Lest we have actually any type of doubt about which among them is in control here, that pat sets us straight.

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For even more on the movie, I’ve composed around my favorite scene. For more on West’s pioneering career and also unmatchable creating style, check out the posts in my series on her. But what you really have to carry out is speak analysis and also start watching. And rotate to the Flapper Dame’s blogathon, where you deserve to find a slew of fun entries on various other iconic lines from timeless film. Enjoy!