AUNTIE MAME [1958 / 2017] [Warner Archive Collection] [Blu-ray] [USA Release] Feast At The Banquet Of This “Walloping Rip-roaring Hit!” Everyone’s Favourite Relation Invites You To Life’s Banquet!
Ten-year-old orphan Patrick Dennis has come to live with his nearest relative, and in the high times ahead. With Auntie Mame, Patrick Dennis’s life is a feast and he is not going to believe his luck. Nor will you, because Patrick Dennis’s relation is played by one of Hollywood’s grandest dames. Reprising her Broadway triumph, Rosalind Russell received her fourth Oscar® nomination and third Golden Globe Award as the marvellous madcap woman who lives life to the hilt.
‘AUNTIE MAME’ brings to bubbly life the mayhem Mame Dennis and her cronies create while guiding Patrick Dennis’s fortunes. Mame Dennis says, “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!” With wit, style and a seasoned cast to dished out humour and heart with gusto, ‘AUNTIE MAME’ is a full-course meal of entertainment magic and is a 1958 Technicolor comedy film based on the 1955 novel of the same name by Patrick Dennis. Narrated by Morton DaCosta (uncredited).
FILM FACT: 1959 Academy Awards: Nomination: Best Picture for Jack L. Warner. Nomination: Best Actress in a Leading Role for Rosalind Russell. Nomination: Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Peggy Cass. Nomination: Best Cinematography in Color for Harry Stradling Sr. Nomination: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration in Black-and-White or Color for George James Hopkins and Malcolm C. Bert. Nomination: Best Film Editing for William H. Ziegler. 1959 Golden Globes: Win: Best Motion Picture in a Comedy. Win: Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical for Rosalind Russell. Nomination: Best Supporting Actress for Peggy Cass. Nomination: Most Promising Female Newcomer for Joanna Barnes. 1959 Grammy Awards: Nominated: Best Soundtrack Album, Dramatic Picture Score or Original Cast. 1959 Golden Laurel Awards: Win: Top General Entertainment. Win: Top Female Comedy Performance for Rosalind Russell. 3rd place: Top Female Supporting Performance for Peggy Cass. 3rd place: Top Cinematography in Color for Harry Stradling Sr. 1960 BAFTA® Awards: Nominated: Best Foreign Actress for Rosalind Russell.
Cast: Morton DaCosta (narrator) (uncredited), Rosalind Russell, Forrest Tucker, Coral Browne, Fred Clark, Roger Smith (Older Patrick Dennis), Patric Knowles, Peggy Cass, Jan Handzlik (Younger Patrick Dennis), Joanna Barnes, Pippa Scott, Lee Patrick, Willard Waterman, Robin Hughes, Connie Gilchrist, Yuki Shimoda, Brook Byron, Carol Veazie, Henry Brandon, John Alban (uncredited), John Albright (uncredited), Cris Alexander (uncredited), Walter Bacon (uncredited), Frank Baker (uncredited), Alex Ball (uncredited), Olive Blakeney (uncredited), Lela Bliss (uncredited), Nina Borget (uncredited), Peter Bourne (uncredited), John Caler (uncredited), Evelyn Ceder (uncredited), Roydon Clark (uncredited), Booth Colman (uncredited), Max Cutler (uncredited), Morton DaCosta (Edwin Dennis voice) (uncredited), Jack Daly (uncredited), Mark Dana (uncredited), Paul Davis (uncredited), Margaret Dumont (uncredited), Minta Durfee (uncredited), Saundra Edwards (uncredited), Adolph Faylauer (uncredited), Charles Fogel (uncredited), Raoul Freeman (uncredited), Kay Garrett (uncredited), Robert Gates (uncredited), Gregory Gaye (uncredited), James Gonzalez (uncredited), Rand Harper (uncredited), Michael Harris (uncredited), Sam Harris (uncredited), Chester Hayes (uncredited), Charles Heard (uncredited), Butch Hengen (uncredited), Gloria Holden (uncredited), Dick Hudkins (uncredited), Terry Kelman (uncredited), Fred Kelsey (uncredited), Colin Kenny (uncredited), Mike Lally (uncredited), Louise Lane (uncredited), Perk Lazelle (uncredited), Cajan Lee (uncredited), Carl M. Leviness (uncredited), Robert Locke Lorraine (uncredited), Thomas Martin (uncredited), Tom McDonough (uncredited), Owen McGiveney (uncredited), Frank McLure (uncredited), Daniel Meyers (uncredited), Harold Miller (uncredited), Jack Mower (uncredited), Sol Murgi (uncredited), Forbes Murray (uncredited), George Nardelli (uncredited), Ron Nyman (uncredited), Doye O'Dell (uncredited), Barbara Pepper (uncredited), Fred Perce (uncredited), Jack Perrin (uncredited), Richard Reeves (uncredited), Waclaw Rekwart (uncredited), Leoda Richards (uncredited), Larry Rio (uncredited), Gladys Roach (uncredited), Victor Romito (uncredited), Sam Savitsky (uncredited), Jeffrey Sayre (uncredited), Hazel Shermet (uncredited), Dean Smith (uncredited), Edna Smith (uncredited), Smokey (Mame's Horse) (uncredited), Bert Stevens (uncredited), Dub Taylor (uncredited), Arthur Tovey (uncredited), Eleanore Vogel (uncredited), Glen Walters (uncredited) and Ruth Warren (uncredited)
Director: Morton DaCosta
Producer: Morton DaCosta (uncredited)
Screenplay: Betty Comden (screenplay), Adolph Green screenplay) and Patrick Dennis (from the novel: "Auntie Mame")
Composer: Bronislau Kaper (music)
Cinematography: Harry Stradling Sr., A.S.C. (Director of Photography)
Image Resolution: 1080p (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (Technirama)
Audio: English: 2.0 DTS HD-Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Running Time: 143 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Warner Archive Collection
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the legendary musical-comedy writing team, departed from form to deal in straight comedy in Warner Bros. ‘AUNTIE MAME’ , adapting a stage hit from another great writing team Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. The Broadway play had, in turn, been adapted from the Patrick Dennis novel and would later be a musical on both stage and screen, with Angela Lansbury and Lucille Ball among the many actresses who would follow Rosalind Russell in the role of Mame Dennis. Rosalind Russell, who originated the role with smashing success on Broadway and well as in this classic very funny hilarious film that was a rip roaring box office hit.
The madcap aunt of an orphaned boy, Mame Dennis enlists her gang of eccentric friends to help teach the youngster to "live, live, live!" and the other iconic classic saying that sums up the wonderful Mame Dennis, that is said to Patrick Dennis is that “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death” and it certainly is one of the most famous lines in Hollywood film history as well as one of the most descriptive of a title character that also sums up the classic comedy film. The film ‘AUNTIE MAME’ has the character of being of course very exuberantly played by the late and great Rosalind Russell and in her capable hands the role she originated on the Broadway stage has yet to be surpassed. Rosalind Russell is at times madcap, sexy, girlish, ditzy, regal, tragic, and smart and of course ultimately brilliant.
The story revolves around young Patrick Dennis [Jan Handzlik]; orphaned by the untimely death of his father Edwin Dennis [Morton DaCosta] and is sent to live with his only living relative in a posh Manhattan apartment. The scene where Patrick Dennis first arrives, there amidst one of Mame Dennis's “affairs” is splendidly conceived and well executed. Also Mame Dennis introduces her nephew to a dizzying array of friends and other guests in rapid succession all the while making witty repartee and the scene is done in one long take that would rarely, if ever, be filmed today. At one point she hands him a pencil and paper and instructs him to jot down every word he hears but does not understand. These include libido, free love, Marxism and heterosexual to name but a few.
But obviously most expansive is the grand dame actress Rosalind Russell, who lets herself go with even more gushiness and grandeur of gesture than she did with her Broadway stage performance. As the downright incredibly fluid and spirited sybarite who, nonetheless, gives her orphaned nephew an abundance of attention and love, and succeeds in creating someone that is as comically engrossing and yet possessed of surprising little pockets of tenderness, but every now and then, the film ‘AUNTIE MAME’ suddenly opens up with touch of largess and tenderness in making Rosalind Russell appearance in the film ‘AUNTIE MAME’ as the most enjoyable and very engaging enjoyment of all time.
But of course there is the farcical and funny side of the film especially among the other characters like Peggy Cass [Peggy Cass] as a myopic secretary who makes a mistake of a delicate biological nature, Coral Browne as Vera Charles who is an actress who drinks like a fish and Doris Upson [Lee Patrick] and Claude Upson [Willard Waterman] as the Connecticut couple who live in a high estate. Ito [Yuki Shimoda] as a houseboy, Norah Muldoon [Connie Gilchrist] as a maid and Gloria Upson [Joanna Barnes] as a finishing-school's end product do variously lively caricatures that adds to the flamboyancy of this very engaging film.
Released in 1958 this utterly brilliant film is filled with memorable characters, intelligent and extremely funny dialogue. The focus rarely shifts from the beloved Mame Dennis but why should it. Mame Dennis is the reason for watching this glorious Technicolor film. Rosalind Russell is one of the screens greatest comediennes; and can deliver tongue-twisting lines with amazing dexterity speed and is just as comfortable doing a pratfall. The scene at Peckerwood, the southern plantation owned by her fiancé Beauregard Picket Burnside [Forrest Tucker] where she rides a crazed horse in a fox hunt is a good example of the latter and again totally hilarious and Rosalind Russell sure pulls it off.
The supporting cast is wonderful and the direction is first rate as is the wonderful screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. I also get chills every time I watch the final scene as Mame Dennis ascends her famous stairway leading the now grown-up Patrick Dennis's son all the while telling him about her friend the monk in India where, from his bell tower you can see the Taj Mahal.
The film ‘AUNTIE MAME’ is unrestrained, totally wild and innocent spoof, but it manages to make it apparent that it has heart and that it is all in the right place. Closest to reality among the other characters in the film are Jan Handzlik as the Younger Patrick Dennis and Roger Smith as the Older Patrick Dennis, who are almost plausible and quite appealing as the nephew in his respective stages of boy and man. Forrest Tucker is broadly humorous as the rich Southerner whom Mame Dennis smartly weds, and Dwight Babcock [Fred Clark] is mad and pompous as the banker who tries to impose his priggish attitude on Young Patrick Dennis.
To me ‘AUNTIE MAME’ its outlandishness, glamour and transports you to another world which you feel you wish you were there so you could participate in. Throughout Mame Dennis’s ups and downs in life, her wardrobe and hair colour change like mad. So does the decor of her New York apartment at 3 Beekman Place. The set design is a perfect complement to the costumes, as Mame Dennis goes from an orientalist phase in the 1920s to a “blue” period for the 1930s, a classical design when she’s mourning her first husband during the 1940s, then a modernist phase in the 1950s, and the film comes full circle with an Asian-Indian theme at the last scene. For over the top hilarious camp fun with a wholly totally modern message, ‘AUNTIE MAME’ is a top notch winner in all categories. You’ll wish Mame Dennis was your auntie too. Purchase this Warner Archive Collection Blu-ray and you will have many hours of repeat viewing that is a total must have for your Blu-ray Collection.
AUNTIE MAME MUSIC TRACK LIST
TEA FOR TWO (1925) (uncredited) (Music by Vincent Youmans) [Played off-screen on piano at Mame's party]
O COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL (aka "Adeste Fidelis") (ca 1743) (uncredited) (Music attributed to John Reading) (Latin lyrics by John Francis Wade) (English lyrics by Frederick Oakeley) (1841) [Played and sung at Macy’s Department Store]
IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR (1850) (uncredited) (Music by Richard Storrs Willis) (1850) (uncredited) (Lyrics by Edmund Hamilton Sears) (1849) (uncredited) [Played and sung after Mame leaves Macy’s Department Store]
DECK THE HALLS (1862) (uncredited) (Traditional Welsh melody) [Played on the radio and Danced by Jan Handzlik, Yuki Shimoda and Connie Gilchrist]
SILENT NIGHT (1818) (uncredited) (Music by Franz Gruber) [Background music at Christmas]
OLD FOLKS AT HOME (Swanee River) (1851) (uncredited) (Written by Stephen Foster) [In the score at Beauregard's Plantation]
TILL WE MEET AGAIN (1918) (uncredited) (Music by Richard A. Whiting) [In the score for the ship sailing sequence]
THE ROSE OF TRALEE (Traditional 19th century ballad) (uncredited) [Sung cappella by Robin Hughes]
TIP-TOE THRU’ THE TULIPS WITH ME (1929) (uncredited) (Music by Joseph A. Burke) [In the score after Agnes comes home]
* * * * *
Blu-ray Image Quality – Warner Archive Collection once again and brings out all guns blazing with this stunning 1080p image presentation for the film ‘AUNTIE MAME’ and equally impressive is the 2.35:1 [Technirama] aspect ratio. The scan was performed at 2K by Warner's Motion Picture Imaging facility, and colour correction was undertaken by the senior colourist at the MPI who had been entrusted with restoring many of Warner's most valuable properties. An original dye transfer print was used as a colour reference, and MPI's work was followed by Warner Archive Collection's customary thorough cleaning to remove dirt, scratches and other age-related deterioration. The end result is a Blu-ray image of stunning sharpness and clarity, with deep and rich primary colours and a rainbow of shadings in between and appropriately enough, the film's introductory titles open with an amazing kaleidoscope of colours that really shows off this brilliant Blu-ray disc to its fullest potential. Auntie Mame's apparently inexhaustible wardrobe is as much a character in the film as she is, and the Blu-ray presentation makes it pop off the screen. The eccentric and ever-changing decor of Mame's apartment is vividly rendered, while the detail of Beauregard Burnside's South Carolina plantation is white-and-pastel eye candy accentuated by the bright red riding coats of the fox hunt. The counters at Macy's, where Mame Dennis meets her future husband, are a study in stylized stage decor, and the exotic locales where Mame Dennis and Beauregard travels around the world are striking in all of their soundstage artificiality. Blacks are solid and deep, and there isn't a hint of untoward electronic tinkering. ‘AUNTIE MAME’ was shot on film some sixty years ago, but its presentation on this Blu-ray really stands out in comparison and especially the inferior DVD release. This Blu-ray is a total triumph and a tribute to the continuing professionalism and vitality of celluloid presentation via Warner Archive Collection and gets a five star rating from me.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Warner Archive Collection brings us ‘AUNTIE MAME’ with one standard 2.0 DTS HD-Master Audio that has been taken from the original magnetic masters, cleaned of any age-related interference or distortion. On top of all that, the audio presentation faithfully reproduces Rosalind Russell's famous ability to deliver her witty dialogue at lightning speed in the only way that this brilliant actress can perform as her character Mame Dennis to great aplomb and Forest Tucker's ripe Southern accent and Peggy Cass's broadly comic tones as the put-upon Miss Gooch, are delivered equally effective. The lovely orchestral score by Bronislau Kaper has ample room to breathe, even though it is only in the 2.0 DTS HD-Master Audio experience. So all in all Warner Archive Collection have given us the best audio presentation of this wacky and very funny film that deserved all its awards and nominations.
* * * * *
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: Music-Only 2.0 DTS HD-Master Audio: Here of course we get highlighted throughout the film BronisÅaw Kaper’s brilliant lush composed music score. Unfortunately, the problem is that there are a lot of gaps without any sound, but it makes you really observe the brilliant composed music score going on in the film.
Theatrical Trailer  [1080p] [1.78:1] [3:09] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘AUNTIE MAME.’ One curious aspect of this trailer, is why couldn’t they have not done a 2.35:1 aspect ratio trailer, but despite this, it is a totally brilliant trailer that sure puts the fun back in its presentation.
Theatrical Trailer  [1080p] [2.35:1] [3:43] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film musical ‘MAME.’ Sadly the trailer is still far superior to the actual film that was a disastrous box office failure, despite all the wonderful composed lyrical songs that were written by Jerry Herman and also all the brilliant and talented cast.
Finally, the thing that I find most utterly charming about the film ‘AUNTIE MAME’ is how Mame Dennis sees the world, and how she passes that on to her nephew Patrick Dennis and helps him to understand that he doesn’t have to necessarily conform to what the status quo wants him to be and that he can live up to certain expectations, but at the same time, he must be true to himself and do the best he can to be a good person. Because in the end, you have to live with yourself, and to paraphrase Mame Dennis in saying, “if you haven’t lived at least some of your life the way you see fit, then have you really lived?” If you are ever feeling down then this is the film is ideal to lift your spirits to greater heights of euphoria and it will also instantly lift your spirits. Rosalind Russell is Mame Dennis the ultimate survivor. Mame Dennis’s numerous costume changes are matched only by her Beekman Avenue apartment’s frequent redesigns. From 1920’s urban glamour to Chinoiserie chic, which is a European interpretation and imitation of Chinese and East Asian artistic traditions and the outrageous colourful sets will cause you to hit the pause button to take in every detail on show. Mame Dennis’s limitless lust for life is contagious and will inspire you to open your heart and mind without any hesitation. If you are ever you are feeling down in the dumps, or you have had a bad day at work or things have just gone from bad to worse, put on this film and all your blues will fade away in an instant because it will really give you a lift and make you feel life is worth living, because it has pathos, witty banter, lots of hilarious laughter, sadness and joy all rolled into one long rollercoaster ride of emotions that will make you want to view this film many times over of repeat essential viewings. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso