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Classic Movie Lines: Mae West – Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie

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Night After Night

The Line: “Goodness, what beautiful diamonds!”/”Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie.”

Who Said It: Mae West as Maudie in the 1932 film Night After Night.

The Setup: Playing one of the finest women who ever walked the streets, West tells a hat-check girl how she came into her jewelry. The film’s star, George Raft, said of West’s screen debut: “She stole everything but the camera.”

The Payoff: Almost overnight, Diamond Lil became an immensely profitable symbol of screen naughtiness by padding her hips and uttering double-entendres without moving her upper lip. As an established playwright, West was allowed to write her own dialogue, and thus began the long list of famous Westian one-liners: “She’s the kind of girl who climbed the ladder of success, wrong by wrong”; “Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?”; “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted”; “Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.”

West didn’t invent sex; she just saw the humor in it.

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