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Auntie Mame (1958)

Unrated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 27 December 1958 (USA)
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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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside
Coral Browne ...
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Lindsay Woolsey
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Jan Handzlik ...
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Doris Upson
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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

Taglines:

Perfect holiday treat...the one and only Auntie Mame and her whole wonderful wacky crew. More hilarious than the smash best-seller, more uproarious than the Broadway hit... See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

| | |

Release Date:

27 December 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die tolle Tante  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,240,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$23,300,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The line, "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death," does not appear in the book. It is derived from the stage play, where it was originally, "Life is a banquet and most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death." Though "damn" and "hell" are both heard in the film, "sons-of-bitches" was apparently thought too rough. See more »

Goofs

When Patrick and Ms. Muldoon arrive on the afternoon of Mame's "Affair" to tell Mame that Ms. Muldoon is not the glass washer lady, Mame says, "Then I must have invited you" and takes a cocktail from Ito's tray. You hear the ice tinkling in the glass but clearly there is no ice in either of the glasses. See more »

Quotes

Dwight Babcock: I dropped by the Bixby School. And what do I find? I find he isn't even registered there, he never has been. So I've been hunting through every low, crockpot school in this town, and I finally found him in the lowest of them all.
Mame Dennis: Mr. Page is a progressive educator...
Dwight Babcock: There they were, a schoolroom full of them: boys, girls, teachers, romping around stark naked, bare as the day they were born.
Mame Dennis: I assure you that the children under Mr. Page's care were engaged in normal, healthful, broadening ...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in The Lady in Question Is Charles Busch (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Perfect? Just about!
2 January 2005 | by 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.


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