It's the late 1920s. Upon the death of wealthy Chicagoan Edward Dennis, his nine-year old son Patrick Dennis becomes the ward of their only living relative, Edward's equally wealthy New ...
See full summary »
Susan and Lorenzo have been married for over five years and they are starting to drift apart. So into her life comes an angel, which only Susan can see, to tell her that there will be ... See full summary »
Judy O'Brien is an aspiring ballerina in a dance troupe. Also in the company is Bubbles, a brash mantrap who leaves the struggling troupe for a career in burlesque. When the company ... See full summary »
Roy Del Ruth
It's the late 1920s. Upon the death of wealthy Chicagoan Edward Dennis, his nine-year old son Patrick Dennis becomes the ward of their only living relative, Edward's equally wealthy New York residing sister, Mame Dennis. Edward's will states that Patrick is to be raised Protestant in a "traditional" manner and that the trustee, Mr. Babcock with the Knickerbocker Bank, will pay Mame for expenses incurred in raising Patrick, he having the right of refusal to pay if he deems that the spirit of Edward's will is not honored. Mr. Babcock and Patrick's longtime nanny, the timid Agnes Gooch, are to ensure that Patrick is raised correctly. Edward included these stipulations in his will as he knows his sister is a flamboyant, free wheeling and eccentric woman who can be considered anything but traditional or conventional. Despite the disruption each provides in the other's life, Mame and Patrick form a loving, supportive relationship. Mame wants to provide her sense of guidance to Patrick, ...Written by
Lucille Ball's involvement in this film began in an interesting way. She felt that Rosalind Russell had clearly gotten some of her "inspiration" for her performance in the non-musical Auntie Mame (1958) from Miss Ball's character on the TV series, I Love Lucy (1951). She then put up $5,000,000 on the agreement that she would be considered for the lead. See more »
Mame claps her hands together and asks "Where's all of last year's tinsel and stuff?" Then the camera angle changes and Mame's hands are suddenly spread apart. See more »
I'm thrilled by the style and wit of each jest that you make. It's bracing to me. Trade quips with my bosom buddy. You Woolcott, you Benchley, you snake.
See more »
Let's face it: seldom in Hollywood does anyone ever start out intending to make a bad movie - however, it's obvious that bad decisions can lead to bad movies. MAME is a perfect example.
Even before Lucille Ball was cast in the title role, Warner Bros. had spent millions of dollars for the screen rights to MAME, which was considered a a pre-sold sure bet based on its track record: it had started as a bestselling novel, became a hit Broadway play and smash Warner Bros. movie (all in the 1950s) and had then become one of the 1960s biggest musical hits, at last making a full-fledged star out of Angela Lansbury. (On Broadway, at least.)
Film versions of Broadway hits used to be highly anticipated by the movie-going public, but by the time the movie of MAME was in preparation, movie musicals had taken a nose-dive at the box-office, with rare exceptions like FUNNY GIRL and CABARET. Who can blame Warners for feeling that they had to hedge their bet with a box-office name? Despite her huge success as MAME, Lansbury had seldom been a lead actress in Hollywood, and it was felt that she wouldn't draw crowds. It so happened that, at the time, the most recognizable and beloved star in the world was Lucille Ball.
Never mind that Lucy couldn't sing or dance - lots of people had griped about Audrey Hepburn being cast as Eliza Doolittle in Warners' 1964 film of MY FAIR LADY, but the film went on to win an armload of Oscars and was a box-office sensation - Lucy was known and recognized all over the world. Countless millions of people would crowd theaters to see her kick up her heels as Patrick Dennis's madcap aunt. Or so the brass at Warners thought.
We all know the result. MAME was a mis-guided effort - it had some gorgeous costumes and sets, some very good performances and musical numbers, but its leading lady just wasn't suited to it, and MAME simply can't survive a leading lady who can't carry the show on her shoulders. The sad fact is that the 1974 movie of MAME may remain as the permanent record of the show. Many people have seen the movie versions of Broadway legends such as A CHORUS LINE, HELLO DOLLY! and MAME and wondered what all the fuss was about, why these shows ran and ran AND RAN, delighting audiences all over the world. And therein lies the great gulf between the stage and the screen - the stage is electric and ALIVE - when we saw these shows, we left the theater humming and walking, no, dancing on air.
Will MAME have a chance to coax the blues out of the horn again on the big or small screen? Who knows - several recents attempts have all stalled. And, really, and truly, I don't see anyone out there who could play it. (OK - MAYBE Catherine Zeta-Jones - but despite her musical experience, and great success in CHICAGO, have you heard anything about another Catherine Zeta-Jones musical?)
10 of 27 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this