(1958) Beginning in September 1928 with the demise of her only brother in Chicago, leaving her with the care of her 10-year-old orphaned nephew, Patrick (Jan Handzlik) - whom Norah Muldoon (Connie Gilchrist) delivers and then stays on with Ito (Yuki Shimoda), the Japanese houseboy - the vivacious Auntie Mame Dennis (Rosalind Russell, recreating her role from the stage) sees to the child's living life fully (including Champagne and "fishberry jam"): "Life is a banquet!"
Director Morton DaCosta brought the Broadway play (screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green), based on Patrick Dennis's novel, to the screen where for me it went flat.
At #3 Beekman Place in New York City, needing to make a positive impression on Dwight Babcock (Fred Clark), the trustee at Knickerbocker Bank in charge of her brother's estate, Auntie Mame comes downstairs to find Patrick mixing a martini for the banker. The woman of "very powerful charms" confronts the representative of a "very powerful bank" over the boy's education; her desire for Patrick to attend Acacius Page's progressive school loses out to Babcock's insistence on a conservative boarding school: "I'm going to turn him into a decent, God-fearing Christian if I have to break every bone in his body."
Patiently courted by Lindsay Woolsey (Patric Knowles), Mame tells him: "How can I be a wife? I'm too busy being a mother."
Her own fortune wiped out with the crash on Wall Street (her stockbroker calls before he jumps out a window), nevertheless, somehow she manages to keep her luxurious apartment while Norah and Ito volunteer to stay on without pay. When her friend and actress Vera Charles (Coral Browne) offers her work in the play in which she's the star, Midsummer Madness, Mame turns the drama into a farcical comedy.
As an overwhelmed telephone operator she tells a caller: "There's no such place as San Francisco." Employed at Macy's department store, she meets oil tycoon Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside (Forrest Tucker) before getting fired; he takes her to his Peckerwood Plantation. When the Yankee "Northern lemon" wins over the intended Georgia peach, Sally Cato MacDoughall (Brook Byron), she tells Beau: "Talk fast, I can listen slow." A fox-hunting episode is ludicrous silliness.
While they're on their around-the-world honeymoon (Beau's constantly taking photographs), Patrick (Roger Smith in the older role) attends Rumson University where he meets Gloria Upson (Joanna Barnes). Returning from another overseas adventure, Mame is a wealthy widow following Beau's falling off the Matterhorn.
She becomes involved with poet Brian O'Bannion (Robin Hughes) after Lindsay, a publisher, suggests she write her memoirs; also hired to take dictation, Agnes Gooch (Peggy Cass) enters the household. Patrick then brings home Gloria, a "top drawer," very conservative young woman - (in Mame's view) "a girl with braces on her brain." In making acquaintance with Gloria's parents, Claude (Willard Waterman) and Doris (Lee Patrick - lots of "Partrick"s in this cast), at Upson Downs in Montebank, Mame observes their anti-Semitic attitude.
In the climatic scene, Mame invites the Upsons to her home where Patrick meets Pegeen Ryan (Pippa Scott), her new secretary after Agnes (still on the premises) became an expectant unwed mother. This grandiose production has its moments, but for nearly 2 ½ hours is largely drab stuff.
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