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Auntie Mame (1958)

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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 7,444 users  
Reviews: 104 user | 18 critic

An orphan goes to live with his free-spirited aunt. Conflict ensues when the executor of his father's estate objects to the aunt's lifestyle.

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Title: Auntie Mame (1958)

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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Directors: William Dieterle, Max Reinhardt
Stars: James Cagney, Dick Powell, Ian Hunter
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
Coral Browne ...
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Lindsay Woolsey
Peggy Cass ...
Jan Handzlik ...
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Lee Patrick ...
Willard Waterman ...
Robin Hughes ...
Brian O'Bannion
Connie Gilchrist ...
Norah Muldoon
Yuki Shimoda ...
Ito
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Storyline

Mame is an unconventional individualist socialite from the roaring 20's. When her brother dies, she is forced to raise her nephew Patrick. However, Patrick's father has designated an executor to his will to protect the boy from absorbing too much of Mame's rather unconventional perspective. Patrick and Mame become devoted to each other in spite of this restriction, and together journey through Patrick's childhood and the great depression, amidst some rather zaney adventures. Written by Ross Thompson <thompson@adobe.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 December 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die tolle Tante  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,240,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rosalind Russell broke her ankle in the first take of the scene where she comes flying down the stairs in the gown with the capri pants - shooting had to be delayed until she recovered. See more »

Goofs

As Mame and Patrick ascend the staircase and she explains that his room still has her weaving loom in it, she can be heard saying, "I began with an enormous rug", but her lips don't move. See more »

Quotes

Auntie Mame: Spitting distance? How vivid!
See more »


Soundtracks

Tip-Toe thru' the Tulips with Me
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Joseph A. Burke
In the score after Agnes comes home
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Perfect? Just about!
2 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When "Auntie Mame" was first published, I read and re-read it (and its sequel, "Around the World with Auntie Mame") for several summers. Believe it or not, the books are even funnier than the film. They were not "memoirs," though that was the PR at the time. Edward Everett Tanner, or "Patrick Dennis," ultimately admitted as much. Auntie Mame was a creation from Tanner's own talented imagination.

No one ever has, or ever will, embody Auntie Mame as well as Rosalind Russell, who, by the time her Broadway performance in the role was filmed, had honed her portrayal to one of the finest in American theatre and film.

Listen to her vocal technique: from high girlish squeals to basso-profundo sarcasm.

Or watch her remarkable body language throughout -- from grande dame theatricality to lowbrow burlesque.

Russell's supporting players are magnificent -- from the 12-year old Jan Handzlik, through Coral Browne, Peggy Cass, Forrest Tucker, Fred Clark, Patrick Knowles, Connie Gilchrist, Yuki Shimoda, Robin Hughes, Roger Smith, Pippa Scott -- and, my own particular favorites who almost, but not quite, steal their scenes from Miss Russell: Willard Waterman, Lee Patrick and Joanna Barnes as the unforgettable Upsons.

George James Hopkins' brilliant sets and set design, and Orry-Kelly's amazing costumes, along with Branislau Kaper's score and Morton Da Costa's direction are like Tiffany settings, showing off this flawless cast at the top of their form.

Lawrence and Lee's original Broadway script was adapted by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, whose main contribution would appear to be the hydraulic furniture at the final dinner party.

The famous line, originally from the Broadway play and not found in the novel, is "Life is a banquet! And most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death!" "Damn" and "hell" both are heard in the film: but "sons-of-bitches" was apparently too strong for the MPAA in 1958.

Is the film dated? I suppose. In the same way that "Citizen Kane" is dated, or "Some Like It Hot." It's also timeless. And Miss Russell's performance, here at the zenith of her long and distinguished comedic and dramatic career (Eugene O'Neill's "Mourning Becomes Electra," anybody?) is an acting lesson unto itself.


39 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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