Upon the death of wealthy Chicagoan Edward Dennis in the late 1920s, 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 of the Knickerbocker Bank, will pay Mame for expenses incurred in raising Patrick, but he has the right to refuse to pay if he deems that she's not honoring the spirit of Edward's will. 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 knowing that his sister is a flamboyant, freewheeling, 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, which ...Written by
...for example, Bea Arthur as Vera Charles has one solo and parts of three duets--she steals the film easily, no contest. Robert Preston has one solo & is part of two other numbers, in limited screen time--he does his best to make Lucy look good in the title song and dance and succeeds. The instrumental music is so loud during Lucy's numbers it almost drowns her out, along with other cast members who can't sing.
Now for the bad - Lucy didn't have the range to sing the title part and shouldn't have been cast. She ruins her first two songs, then she and the kid cast ruin song number three. From then on she alternates between a very limited tenor range and talk-singing her songs, like Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (1964). Also, all of the choreography seems slowed down--there is so much blurring of the camera lens one can barely see the pearls Lucy is wearing--they look to be dots. In the end the film just barely avoids disaster and today is considered a bit of a camp classic.
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