Go West, Young Man

Go West, Young Man is a 1936 American comedy film directed by Henry Hathaway and starring Mae West, Warren William, and Randolph Scott.[2] Released by Paramount Pictures and based on the play Personal Appearance by Lawrence Riley, the film is about a movie star who gets stranded out in the country and trifles with a young man's affections. The phrase "Go West, Young Man" is often attributed to New York Tribune founder Horace Greeley, and often misattributed to Indiana journalist John B. L. Soule, but the latest research shows it to be a paraphrase.[3]

Go West, Young Man
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHenry Hathaway
Produced byEmanuel Cohen
Screenplay byMae West
Based onPersonal Appearance (play)
by Lawrence Riley
Music byArthur Johnston
CinematographyKarl Struss
Edited byRay Curtiss
Emanuel Cohen Productions
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • November 13, 1936 (1936-11-13) (USA)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States


Mavis Arden (Mae West), is a movie star who gets romantically involved with a politician. She makes plans to meet him at her next tour stop but her Rolls Royce breaks down and she is left stranded in the middle of a rural town. Her manager arranges for her to stay at a local boarding house. She immediately set her eyes on the young mechanic, fixing her car, Bud Norton, played by Randolph Scott. West sings the Arthur Johnston/John Burke song, I Was Saying to the Moon as she is trying to seduce Scott.[4]



The New York Times wrote that the film had "lost little" from the play and called the supporting cast "uniformly excellent."[6] Variety wrote that "Miss West, in her own way, is excellent" even though her persona "tires a bit and no longer is quite the novelty it once was."[7] "Excellent Mae West vehicle filled with laughs", reported Film Daily.[8] Motion Picture Daily wrote that "the film is basically farce comedy and, while noticeably different from previous West features, it does not fail to deliver all that is expected."[9] "The play was funny and tough; and the movie is funny, and perhaps tough too", wrote John Mosher in The New Yorker. "We mustn't, of course, ever allow anything to curb Mae West, so it is with relief that we find her in this film no more shy than before."[10]


  1. Hanson, Patricia King, ed. (1993). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films, 1931–1940. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 785. ISBN 0-520-07908-6.
  2. "Go West, Young Man". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  3. Who Said, "Go West, Young Man" – Quote Detective Debunks Myths.
  4. "Go West, Young Man", MaeWest.nl
  5. "Full cast and crew for Go West, Young Man". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  6. "Movie Review – Go West, Young Man". The New York Times. November 19, 1936. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  7. "Go West, Young Man". Variety. New York: 14. November 25, 1936.
  8. "Reviews of the New Films". Film Daily. New York: 13. November 6, 1936.
  9. "Motion Picture Daily's Hollywood Preview". Motion Picture Daily: 8. November 4, 1936.
  10. Mosher, John (November 21, 1936). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker: 101.
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