Auntie Mame (1958)
May 26, 2018 7:18 PM - Subscribe

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.

Wikipedia: Auntie Mame a 1958 Technicolor comedy film based on the 1955 novel of the same name by Patrick Dennis and its theatrical adaptation by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee. This film version stars Rosalind Russell and was directed by Morton DaCosta. Mame, a musical version of the story, appeared on Broadway in 1966, and was later made into a 1974 film by that same name starring Lucille Ball as the title character. But we're here to talk (mostly) about the film from 1958.

Screen: 'Auntie Mame' (Bosley Crowther for New York Times, Dec. 5, 1958)
HURRICANES may be out of season, but one blew into the Music Hall yesterday, along with the Christmas stage show. The name of it is "Auntie Mame" and it should be causing much turbulence in this area until well after the Christmas holidays.
(End of non-paywalled preview)

Original trailer and more clips from Turner Classic Movies.

How Auntie Mame changed my life (Hugh Ryan for The Guardian, 6 Mar 2015) -- When Hugh Ryan’s grandmother showed him the Rosalind Russell film Auntie Mame, its outlandishness and glamour transported him to another world

Hays’d: Decoding the Classics — 'Auntie Mame' (Les Fabian Brathwaite for IndieWire, Mar. 20, 2014)
The film was based on the 1955 novel, Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade by Patrick Dennis (née Edward Everett Tanner III), who was inspired by his own aunt, Marion Tanner. The literary Mame is a far bawdier and brassier broad than her celluloid incarnation. Dennis, himself a bisexual, imbued Mame with a gay sensibility that somehow connected with stuffy, conservative, McCarthy-era, post-war Americans. She invites transvestites to her parties, associates with many famed homosexual artists and writers while making veiled lesbian allusions (Google books preview) to her relationship with gal Friday, Agnes Gooch.

For all her broad thinking, however, Mame can be quite homophobic — throwing around “faggot” every now and again while expressing relief that Patrick isn’t “that way.” As Everyday Heterosexism (movie review) points out, censoring the book’s gay content ironically made the movie more gay-friendly.

The movie, however, was drawn more closely from the subsequent play by noted queen Jerome Lawrence and his hetero writing partner Robert E. Lee. Roz Russell originated the role on Broadway in 1956, earning a Tony nomination in the process, so it was a no-brainer to bring her on for the film. She would go on to win a Golden Globe and earn her fourth and final Oscar nomination for the role — in all fairness, she lost to Susan Hayward camping it up in another queer classic, I Want to Live! Any title featuring an exclamation point already has an unfair advantage.
Quotes from the movie
posted by filthy light thief (8 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Auntie Mame is who I want to be when I grow up. This is for sure my favorite movie of all time. Rosalind Russell is fucking amazing. In my house if someone is looking a bit worse for wear and they get asked what’s wrong it’s compulsory to yell out “I LIVED.” ❤️❤️❤️
posted by supercrayon at 1:41 AM on May 27, 2018 [5 favorites]

I have read this book and it was mostly charming. It reminds me strongly of another book adapted into a great comedy: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
posted by bq at 8:08 AM on May 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

And I guess that makes sense because Dennis was writing about his childhood during the Jazz Age.
posted by bq at 8:50 AM on May 27, 2018

The Hays office defanged one of the best lines in the play: That word, dear, was "Bastard". B-A-S-T-A-R-D--And it means your late father!

*lights fade*
posted by brujita at 9:52 AM on May 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

This was the movie that made me realize what all the fuss was about classic movies.
posted by gatorae at 7:42 PM on May 27, 2018 [4 favorites]

Even though some things like the random racism, Ito, f-word ah...don't hold up, the overall spirit and awesome of Mame is a delight.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:45 PM on May 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

This and Arsenic and Lace are my goto favorite movies.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 12:21 PM on May 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Just started watching this movie the other night, and while I found most of it charming and enjoyable, the jokes about the private school taught "in the Greek fashion" that Patrick briefly attends are perhaps the most fucked up thing I've heard in any movie ever, and I've seen several Takashi Miike films. A classroom full of naked children, AND NAKED ADULTS, the girls pretending to lay their eggs and the boys (under the direction of their NAKED ADULT MALE TEACHER) "doing what gentlemen fish do" -- does that mean what I think it means? That's some Jeffrey Epstein level perversion there.
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:44 PM on August 24, 2023

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