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Mame (1974)

PG | | Musical | 27 March 1974 (USA)
Trailer
3:30 | Trailer
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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Gene Saks

Writers:

Jerome Lawrence (Broadway musical), Robert E. Lee (Broadway musical) | 5 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lucille Ball ... Mame Dennis
Bea Arthur ... Vera Charles (as Beatrice Arthur)
Robert Preston ... Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside
Bruce Davison ... Older Patrick
Kirby Furlong Kirby Furlong ... Young Patrick
Jane Connell Jane Connell ... Agnes Gooch
George Chiang George Chiang ... Ito
Joyce Van Patten ... Sally Cato
Doria Cook-Nelson Doria Cook-Nelson ... Gloria Upson (as Doria Cook)
Don Porter ... Mr. Upson
Audrey Christie ... Mrs. Upson
John McGiver ... Mr. Babcock
Bobbi Jordan Bobbi Jordan ... Pegeen
Patrick Labyorteaux ... Peter
Lucille Benson ... Mother Burnside
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Musical

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bea Arthur and Jane Connell reprise their stage roles for this film version. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Mrs. Upson: Mame, you'll never believe this, but this part of the house used to be an old slave kitchen
[black maid walks in]
Mrs. Upson: Oh there you are Bertha. Bertha, this is Mame Dennis. Bertha is one in a million. We don't know what we'd do without her, do we Claude? She's so nice... most of them are getting so snooty these days.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Woman: Obstacles and Assets (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Mame
Written by Jerry Herman (uncredited)
Performed by Robert Preston and Company
See more »

User Reviews

 
Absolutely one of my favourite movies
15 October 2000 | by Comrade GenghisSee all my reviews

Yes, Lucille was filmed in soft focus. No, Lucille did not play Mame exactly like Rosalind Russell. Yes, Warner Brothers was foolish in rejecting Angela Lansbury. But if you are willing to look past that, you will find a WONDERFUL motion picture.

Although Paul Zindel perhaps changed more than necessary in his script rewrite, this is still some GREAT material. And one could not have asked for better direction or supporting cast. Gene Saks did a wonderful job on all counts...the cinematography is marvellous (if you can find the wide-screen version) and the whole film is delightfully theatrical. The art direction is to die for; Ball's singing notwithstanding, the musical arrangement is superior to the Broadway recording (possibly excepting "It's Today" and the title number [although it's still very much enjoyable]); and Wayne Fitzgerald's title sequence is one of the best in film history. Although there are a few notes here and there that may make one wince, Ball's singing is really NOT THAT BAD.

Folks expecting a musical duplicate of AUNTIE MAME, however, are in for a surprise. Rosalind Russell's performance, which I love, was outrageously campy; Ball interprets Mame quite differently, and plays her much less flamboyantly. Her portrayal is not as inherently funny as Russell's, but Ball is still a grand actress, and she shows real human emotions very well in MAME. Did Angela Lansbury deserve the film role? Most definitely. Lansbury, of whom I am an enormous fan, devoted years of her life to perfecting the role on Broadway (and she DID perfect the role), and she was more than willing to do the film. It is indeed a tragedy that we have no film record of her performance, but that should not be a factor in judging the quality of this film. Ball was perhaps older than the role called for, but she was an able Mame. Everyone around her, especially the great Bea Arthur and the superb Jane Connell (undoubtedly one of the most underappreciated comic actresses alive), is brilliant.

What was Ball doing in this picture in the first place? Although she had wanted the part badly ever since AUNTIE MAME was released, it was NOT her financial backing that took this part away from Lansbury. Initially she avidly pursued the role (not even her confidante Desi Arnaz could talk her out of it), but after she broke her leg in 1973 she had a sort of reality check. Realising that she was not in any kind of shape for the part, she told the producers that she was backing out of the movie. Warner Brothers promptly flew a representative out to see her and insist on delaying production for her, saying that she was the only reason the picture was being made in the first place. Lucy was a somewhat insecure person, as well as a person always concerned about others' jobs; feeling that dropping out of the picture would leave everyone else working on it out of a job, she acquiesced. Even when the director begged for Angela Lansbury, Warner Brothers refused on the basis of "star power." It was balderdash, of course, but the business side of show business unfortunately is always in the way of the artistic side.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese | French | Russian

Release Date:

27 March 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mame See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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