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Mame (1974)

PG | | Musical | 27 March 1974 (USA)
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The musical revolves around the antics of Mame Dennis, a fun-loving, wealthy eccentric with a flare for life and a razor sharp wit. Her life is suddenly changed when she becomes the ... See full summary »

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(novel), (play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Kirby Furlong ...
Jane Connell ...
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Doria Cook-Nelson ...
Gloria Upson (as Doria Cook)
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Audrey Christie ...
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Bobbi Jordan ...
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Peter
Lucille Benson ...
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Cousin Fan
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Storyline

The musical revolves around the antics of Mame Dennis, a fun-loving, wealthy eccentric with a flare for life and a razor sharp wit. Her life is suddenly changed when she becomes the guardian of her late brother's only child, Patrick Dennis. Her adventures take us from the speak-easies of the roaring 20's to the depression following the great Stock Market crash. She is rescued by a wealthy Southern plantation owner, marries and is widowed suddenly, and through it all, manages to keep things under control. With some help from her dearest friend, Vera Charles, she helps keep things at 3 Beekman Place a rousing free-for-all. Written by John Deming <jfdeming@sprynet.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She'll coax the blues right out of your heart!

Genres:

Musical

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 March 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ante todo, mujer  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lucille Ball was 3 years older than Lucille Benson, the actress who player Mother Burnside. See more »

Goofs

As the opening credits end, when we see the large portrait of Mame in her hallway in a wide shot, Mame's hair is flaming red's to match Lucille Ball's famous hair color. But when we see it again a minute or two later, from a closer view, the same portrait now has brown hair which matches the brunette wig Lucy is wearing in that scene. See more »

Quotes

Peter: [after Patrick and Pegeen say he can't go to Siberia with Mame] You know what your problem is mom? You don't Live Live LIVE! Life is a Banquet and most sons of bitches are starving to death!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Facts of Life: Christmas in the Big House (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

My Best Girl
Performed by Kirby Furlong and Lucille Ball
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Often criticised, but a thoroughly enjoyable musical comedy!
4 June 2001 | by (Canberra, Australia) – See all my reviews

I thoroughly enjoyed 'Mame', though I admit to being a biased Lucille Ball fan.

Set during the late 1920's and early 1930's, an orphaned nine year old boy goes to live with his wealthy and highly eccentric socialite aunt (Lucille Ball), who delights in teaching him to live life to the fullest. A repertoire of spirited, memorable songs accompany a complex story chronicling the relationship between a boy and his aunt.

Unfortunately, the darker side of human nature dominated within the hostile critiques of 'Mame' at the time of it's release... offensive reviews which deeply hurt Lucille Ball personally. Indeed, 'Mame' was maimed by the critics in 1974.

Had 'Mame' been released in the 1940's, 50's or even the 1960's, (with Lucille Ball in the leading role), this delightful musical would have been a major success and Lucy would have won critical acclaim. Unfortunately, by the 1970's the golden era of the Hollywood movie musical was over (in my humble opinion, the film musical died not long after 'Thoroughly Modern Millie' in 1966 ... hopefully, ' Moulin Rouge' will bring it back, or at the very least restore it's dated image, fingers crossed!).

Techniques and tastes had changed by the time 'Mame' hit the screen. Audiences were no longer accustomed to leading characters bursting into song spontaneously, ('Cabaret' in 1972 being the only memorable success of this period, complete with it's own different musical style). Therefore, 'Mame' was doomed from the very beginning.

To make matters worse, Lucille Ball had been (and remains) solidly typecast as a comedienne [albeit a highly talented one], and would always encounter difficulty in winning over hostile critics who refused to positively endorse her as anything else. Yet Lucy could act, (as had been proven within her touching portrayal of a homeless woman in 'Stone Pillows'), and despite being judged from her somewhat deeper, slower vocal renditions within 'Mame', she **could** sing (her musical talent was showcased within 'Sorrowful Jones' in the 1940's). I personally believe she would have been awarded a 'lifetime achievement' academy award had she survived past 1989, (also, I believe she would have done justice to the portrayal of the older 'Rose' character in 'Titanic', but I digress)...

The sets and costumes are sumptuous. In fact, after viewing the film I decided to re-decorate my home in the art-deco style which was the height of fashion within the period in which 'Mame' was set.

I first viewed 'Mame' late at night, when I was half asleep, on the ABC (that is, the Australian Broadcasting Co-operation) about three years ago and mistook it for a much earlier production owing to the filming techniques. Of course, a much older Lucille Ball gave the age of the film away, but the filming technique gives this film an 'authentic' feel. Because Lucy happened to be in her 60's at the time of production (somewhat older than Angela Lansbury, who starred in the Broadway stage production and, to her credit, would have also made a *great* Mame), the 'soft' lens was used in some of her close-up shots to make her appear younger. While criticised from time to time, I found the lighting and image texture to closely imitate similar techniques commonplace within the 1920's and 1930's. The film comes across 'authentic', complimenting the art-deco sets and flamboyant costumes.

In short, I **love** this film. Don't let the critics rain on Mame's parade. Even the stuffiest cynics *must* concede that the film has it's moments...

The 'moon lady' sequence had me in stitches, (as Lucy ascended upon a stage before a theatre-going audience clumsily perched on a cardboard crescent moon). And who can forget Mame's demands for "straight scotch" when shocked by her nephew's [proposed] in-laws and her revolting, belching Southern 'mother-in-law'!? Bea Authur (a one-time 'golden girl'), also steals a number of scenes before the memorable finale.

A must see... indeed, let Lucy's Mame "coax those blues right out of your heart"


29 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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