|Rosalind Russell as Auntie Mame|
In 1928 little Patrick Dennis (Jan Handzlik) enters a whole new world when his father dies and he is turned over to his free-spirited Auntie Mame (Rosalind Russell), who is best friends with dipsomaniac actress Vera Charles (Coral Browne) and believes in unconventional teaching methods. Mame has a love of life and craves new experiences, which she shares with Patrick. But when an older Patrick (Roger Smith) gets engaged to a young lady from a narrow-minded family, will Mame be able to show her nephew the error of his ways? Auntie Mame is a delightful, very well-acted comedy with a message of accepting the unconventional that's delivered without hitting the audience over the head. Russell and Brown take the acting honors -- Russell is especially superb -- and there are also fine performances from little Handzlik, Smith, Forrest Tucker, Peggy Cass as Agnes Gooch, Connie Gilchrist as Mame's housekeeper (who sort of disappears when Gooch arrives), Joanna Barnes [The Parent Trap] as Patrick's weird fiancee, Lee Patrick as her mother, and Pippa Scott [As Young As We Are] as Pegeen, who comes to work for Mame. We also have the versatile Henry Brandon [Babes in Toyland] as Patrick's strange teacher. [Frankly, nowadays most sensible people would have a problem with the school Brandon runs.] In addition to some great dialogue and very funny scenes, the movie has a sub-text of exposing and denouncing prejudice. Based on a very successful stage play, this was turned into the musical, Mame, which was also filmed.
NOTE: Just found out that there may be another remake of this picture with the rather androgynous Tilda Swinton playing Mame [!?].
Verdict: Great and classic comedy. ****.