Mame
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Mame

4.4 5
Director: Gene Saks

Cast: Gene Saks, Lucille Ball, Robert Preston, Bea Arthur

     
 
The major bonus feature of Warner Home Video's DVD release of Gene Saks' Mame (1974) is the vintage featurette Lucky Mame -- it is entertaining but for the wrong reasons, trying as it does to raise audience enthusiasm for the soon-to-be-released movie, when it is plain to anyone watching that the movie is just not that good. That said, as it turns out,

Overview

The major bonus feature of Warner Home Video's DVD release of Gene Saks' Mame (1974) is the vintage featurette Lucky Mame -- it is entertaining but for the wrong reasons, trying as it does to raise audience enthusiasm for the soon-to-be-released movie, when it is plain to anyone watching that the movie is just not that good. That said, as it turns out, the movie is not that bad, either -- and not quite as bad as its reputation would lead one to expect. Mame was one of the notorious box office bombs of the 1970's, and helped to put a nail in the coffin of the big Hollywood musical, despite its having been a hit on Broadway. Most of this was attributed to the decision to go with Lucille Ball in the lead, in place of Angela Lansbury, who starred in the Broadway version. She gave it a good try, but neither her work, nor Paul Zindel's screenplay, nor Jerry Herman's score, could make this work commercially, and the movie disappeared after some valiant attempts by the studio to sell it. Television showings have been especially harmful to whatever reputation the movie might have salvaged -- the Panavision image, cropped to 1.33-to-1, is especially worthless, as Saks tends to fill up every corner of the widescreen frame. Additionally, the movie lingered like a ghost haunting the airwaves, thanks to its cross-promotion on several episodes of Here's Lucy, Lucille Ball's then-current sitcom, which later went into syndication and kept Mame alive as a pop-culture wraith for years. Now it has arrived on DVD from Warner Home Video, in what is probably the best presentation the movie has had since 1974 -- perhaps it's just that nothing couild have been as bad as the reputation that this movie has carried, but it is watchable, if not fully enjoyable, and not quite worth the 131 minutes it demands. Oh, it's sometimes as campy as all get out, but that's a virtue in a piece like this, and when director Gene Saks and his cast get things right, the results are entertaining, if not always inspired. Ball's singing voice was hopeless as an instrument, but as an honest part of her performance, it is acceptable -- we're accustomed to better in our musical films, this was also the era in which Glynis Johns (hardly known for her vocal skills) scored a hit on stage with "Send In The Clowns." (Of course, with Lansbury in the role, one wouldn't have had to settle for "acceptable"). There are moments where one feels like Lucille Ball is purposefully impersonating Rosalind Russell, who did the original (non-musical) film, and other moments where one feels las though they're watching someone is doing a Lucille Ball impersonation; and the parts of the movie that fail utterly are the moments tailored for her persona, such as the fox hunting sequence. The non-musical segments lag in energy, but considering that some of the latter include Beatrice Arthur -- who is easily the best thing in the movie -- and Robert Preston, and they can be dealt with in the totality of the viewing experience. And in the widescreen (2.35-to-1) version, we get to see more than a glimpse of excellent supporting players such as John Wheeler. The DVD opens automatically to an easy-to-use two-layer menu that offers quick access to the featurette and the original trailer. The film has also been given a very generous 33 chapters.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/19/2007
UPC:
0085391134145
Original Release:
1974
Rating:
PG
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
2:11:00
Sales rank:
10,058

Special Features

The vintage featurette "Lucky Mame" and a theatrical trailer.

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lucille Ball Mame Dennis
Robert Preston Beauregard
Bea Arthur Vera Charles
Kirby Furlong Young Patrick
Bruce Davison Older Patrick
George Chiang Ito
Donald Porter Mr. Upson
Joyce Van Patten Sally Cato
Barbara Bosson Emily
Eric Gordon Boyd
Alice Nunn Fat Lady
Ned Wertimer Fred Kates
John Wheeler Judge Bregoff
Roger Price Ralph Divine
Leonard Stone Stage Manager
Burt Mustin Uncle Jeff
Ruth McDevitt Cousin Fan
Lucille Benson Mother Burnside
Patrick Laborteaux Peter
Doria Cook Gloria Upson
James Brodhead Floorwalker
Audrey Christie Mrs. Upson
Jane Connell Agnes Gooch
John McGiver Mr. Babcock
Bobbi Jordan Pegeen

Technical Credits
Gene Saks Director
Martin Allen Choreography
Robert F. Boyle Production Designer
Ralph Burns Musical Arrangement,Musical Direction/Supervision
Billy Byers Musical Arrangement,Musical Direction/Supervision
James Cresson Producer
Robert Fryer Producer
Jerry Herman Score Composer,Songwriter
Philip H. Lathrop Cinematographer
Harold Michelson Production Designer
Al Overton Sound/Sound Designer
Theadora Van Runkle Costumes/Costume Designer
Onna White Choreography
Maury Winetrobe Editor
Paul Zindel Screenwriter

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Mame
1. Last Will and Credits [2:34]
2. St. Bridget [2:28]
3. It's Today (1) [4:44]
4. Your Auntie Mame [2:32]
5. It's Today (2) [1:28]
6. Wakeup Bugle Call [4:27]
7. Open a New Window [5:56]
8. Babcock and the Crash [4:31]
9. The Man In the Moon [4:56]
10. Stage-Stricken [4:36]
11. My Best Girl [4:06]
12. Beauregard Burnside [3:37]
13. Fired; Rolling Home [3:31]
14. We Need a Little Christmas [6:43]
15. Dinner Invitation [2:51]
16. Perckerwood; Georgia Finery [4:51]
17. Fox Hunt [6:13]
18. Mame [7:29]
19. Loving You [4:06]
20. The Letter [1:19]
21. Patrick and Gloria [3:38]
22. Bosom Buddies (1) [6:11]
23. Making Agnes Over [2:42]
24. Bosom Buddies (2) [1:57]
25. Agnes Opens a New Window [3:58]
26. Gooch's Song [3:39]
27. The Uppity Upsons [6:01]
28. At Odds [2:17]
29. If He Walked Into My Life [3:55]
30. Hosting the Upsons [3:02]
31. Single Mothers Unite [5:49]
32. Peter and the Pied Piper [3:53]
33. Cast List [:56]

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Mame 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lucille Ball did a great job on this movie! Shame on the critics!
Guest More than 1 year ago
All though Warner Bros. made a huge mistake not casting Angela Lansbury in the title role of "Mame" for which she won a Tony the movie version with Ball is still charming. Agreeing Ball is no song bird she wore the costumes beautifully & acted the part well. Having Bea Arthur & Jane Connell recreating their original Broadway roles really makes the movie a classic in my eyes. If you are a fan of the roaring twenties & are a "Mame" buff don't miss it - "Lifes a banquet & most poor suckers are starving to death!"
Guest More than 1 year ago
They should have called this movie "VERA", because of Bea Arthur's memorable recreation of her stage performance...I actually don't think Lucy does too bad a job here, she is just much to old and her voice was shot by this point. But the memorable lines all come from Bea: "Sell her own mother but brilliant!"...."I was never in the chorus"....."I married him, i NEVER dated him"....and of course her hilarious, "Man in the Moon is a Lady" number, topped by a slapping fit with her maid. Genius! Worth seeing just for that moment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not a true ''Lucy Fan'' but this musical could easily make me one. I thought the costumes were fabulous and the whole show was enjoyable. I really liked Bosom Buddies which Bea Authur and Lucy actually looked like they were true friends playing this part and did not have to act. If you need to lift your spirits - try Mame!