Auntie Mame

1958 US
Dir:Morton DaCosta
Stars:Rosalind Russel, Forrest Tucker, Coral Browne, Fred Clark

Left:Rosalind Russel, Right:Fred Clark

This quite entertaining movie is uttely fun to watch even though somewhat I must admit that the plot line is so simple that it might look as if just concatenating individual episodes in a row. Director of this movie Morton DaCosta is essentially a director of stage products, and he directed only three movies including this one and the screen version of "The Music Man"(1962). Even so, by these two movies, he is a great director to me. But, the most entertaining element of this movie comes from the presence of Rosalind Russel who is playing the lead character Mame here. Her personality and stylish performance look so perfectly matching the role of "Auntie Mame" that she seems to be born to playing this very role even after considering the fact that she had before this film also been playing roles that required very stylish charm of the sort she is showing in this movie. As I had been thinking that her role of the obsessive spinster in the previous movie "Picnic"(1956) was quite out of her character, I was somewhat relieved when I watched her playing a very very stylish and Bohemian character in this movie "Auntie Mame". On top of her tour de force performance, the perfomances from support players are also splendid. Especially, Fred Clark who plays a quite ill-natured and meddling bank manager is fun to watch as usual, and Coral Browne who plays a drunken stage actress is excellent. However, the most funniest performance comes from Peggy Cass who plays a helpless typist, and apart from Rosalind Russel, she is definitely a comedy highlight. But, there is another reason why I've been so strongly attracted to this movie besides the excellent performances from all those capable players. That is, this movie somehow satisfies our desire to live like a Bohemian by letting us vicariously living through the life of Auntie Mame. I think it's quite easy for us to sympathize with her way of living consciously or unconsciously. Thus, when Mame loudly and determinately tells to her nephew a rather hedonic phrase "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death", it certainly looks as if she was not only addressing the phrase to her nephew, but also to us the audience. Although this sort of assertion might under certain situations sound quite arrogant and improper, nevertheless coming from her character, it sounds so natural. This point definitely proves the quality of this movie; quality filled with stylishness and satisfaction regarding the life style we the audience are always hankering for. Additionally saying, there is another (musical) movie version of this material; that is "Mame"(1974) where Lucille Ball plays the lead character Mame. However, this one is far inferior to the original one apart from a few points such as the number sung in the Texas ranch scene is splendid and the presence of Beatrice Arthur who plays in her own way the role of the drunken actress originally played by Coral Browne is quite unique, for Lucille Ball's personality is quite different from the one required for this role which we can witness so perfectly fitting in with Rosalind Russel's performance in the original, and not to mention such trivial points as, in the remake version, the aforementioned helpless typist Agnes Gooch originally played by Peggy Cass and the rather steady housekeeper Norah Muldoon who firstly brings the nephew to Auntie Mame's house is played by one person. Anyway, all in all, the original version is so entertaining a movie that I've already watched it countless times, and especially the movie is effective when my mood is quite blue.

All articles are written by Kaminarikozou