As a disc, it is perfect Warner Archive quality. 4 Stars

I’m a huge fan of the original Broadway production of Mame, which I saw was with Angela Lansbury – she was on stage, I was in a seat.

It was a extraordinary and vibrant entertainment.

In 1974, WB which owned the rights to the original Auntie Mame (available on Blu-ray from WB, in all its wonderful Technirama beauty), decided to make a film version of the musical play.

To this day, I don’t understand why they didn’t use Ms Lansbury for the lead, and in her place, went with Lucille Ball.

Ms Ball couldn’t sing. They didn’t use voice replacement, and at that age was no longer the dancer she may have been when a Goldwyn Girl.

They did use Bea Arthur, and she’s wonderful, along with Robert Preston.

There is a large and resolute audience for this disc, and Warner Archive, has released a gorgeous Blu-ray.

Presumably derived from a very high quality interpositive of reasonably recent production, all of the color, especially the vibrancy of reds is fully intact. Blacks are perfect.

It’s a beautifully shot film – highly resolved when need be, and heavily veiled (Ms Ball was 63) when necessary, which was virtually every shot in which she was included.

All of the history aside, Mame, as a representation of the original musical, is an important release, and the quality here, is superb.

I wouldn’t be honest, if I opined that Lucy is terrific in the lead role.

As a disc, it is perfect Warner Archive quality.

Image – 5

Audio – 5 (monaural)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from earlier Blu-ray – You betcha!

RAH

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My number one reason for purchase?
Philip H. Lathrop.
And thankfully under the care of WAC.:)
 
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Makes a wonderful companion piece to Auntie...
 

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So glad to hear it looks great but monaural sound makes me sad. The soundtrack album is in vibrant stereo and it shows off Ralph Burns fantastic orchestrations beautifully. Oh well, looking forward to the blu. (And I already know the arguments WB made about not doing it in stereo for the previous DVD - hoped they had changed their stance on that).
 

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Mono tracks are capable of sounding good or even great. Is the track itself at least lossless? Even the laserdisc had that going for it, technically. And believe it or not, this film actually got a widescreen laserdisc before Blazing Saddles*, which only got a less bad-looking pan-and-scan version and had to wait to get an OAR LD release from Image Entertainment until after it got a DVD.**

*Disney united the two movies when they cast Slim Pickens and John McGiver in The Apple Dumpling Gang.
**See also: Annie (or any girl-centric Columbia movie), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
 
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A flawed but highly entertaining movie and less stagey than the 1958 film. In interviews at the time, Lucille Ball stated that Lisa Kirk (who dubbed most of Roz very well in GYPSY) had recorded the songs but the studio had opted to go with Miss Ball's (inadequate) voice. A pity. At times, she is passable but this score deserved better Would love to hear Miss Kirk's tracks if they survive.
Otherwise, I like Lucy as MAME. Not in the same league as Roz, but she brought her considerable comic talents to the fore and is quite touching in the dramatic scenes. Bea Arthur is terrific, as are Doria Cook (as Gloria Upson), Jane Connell, Robert Preston, Audrey Christie (Mrs. Mullins in CAROUSEL) and the rest of the supporting cast. Marvellous editing, orchestrations and costumes and one of the best title sequences ever, in my opinion. The pluses outweigh the minuses. (Also, Lucy has stated that Miss Lansbury was in Ireland with a family crisis related to her son and was unavailable for the role. If it couldn't be a box office hit with Lucy, who was still very popular due to her tv show, I doubt it would have been a hit with Lansbury at that time .)
 

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(Also, Lucy has stated that Miss Lansbury was in Ireland with a family crisis related to her son and was unavailable for the role. If it couldn't be a box office hit with Lucy, who was still very popular due to her tv show, I doubt it would have been a hit with Lansbury at that time .)
The first comment is not true. Lansbury has stated that she was never asked and has no idea why Ball said what she did, "I didn't get the movie because Warner Bros. didn't believe that I could bring the audience in.". I agree with your second comment but for different reasons. It's simply not a good movie and even if Lansbury had played in the film version, it wouldn't have made it any better. I suspected the film of Mame wouldn't be a hit when (I lived in San Francisco at the time) the trailer was greeted with hisses and derisive noises.
 
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It would have been SOME better because the musical elements involving the title character would have been given the lyrical acting talents that Miss Lansbury brought to the table, something Miss Ball never was able to muster. Notes would have been sustained (and thus rhythms adjusted more appealingly because someone who could sing wouldn't have to be helped with altered cadences), pitches would have been truer, and the emotional depths would have been far deeper and richer.
 

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I certainly find it the most enjoyable of the “non-singer” musicals so prevalent in the day: Paint Your Wagon, Man of La Mancha, At Long Last Love and the hideous Lost Horizon being the main ones that come to mind.

And I actually prefer Bea Arthur and Jane Connell over their Auntie Mame counterparts of Coral Browne and Peggy Cass, both of whom are great though.
 
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WB lied to Lucy to make her feel better about Angie not getting the part. They told Lucy that Angie didn't want to do it when they never even asked her. True or false, she believed it. But Angie did have a family crisis at the time; her daughter Deirdre got involved with drugs and almost got recruited into the Manson family. That's why they left for Ireland: for her recovery.*

Similarly, what was the excuse for keeping her Court Jester co-star, Glynis Johns, out of the film of A Little Night Music? That begs the question of who would have gotten the part of Mame Dennis if Lucy had turned it down.

I certainly find it the most enjoyable of the “non-singer” musicals so prevalent in the day: Paint Your Wagon, Man of La Mancha, At Long Last Love and the hideous Lost Horizon being the main ones that come to mind.

And I actually prefer Bea Arthur and Jane Connell over their Auntie Mame counterparts of Coral Browne and Peggy Cass, both of whom are great though.
Since the musical combines the characters of Norah Muldoon and Agnes Gooch, Connell is also replacing Connie Gilchrist as well as Peggy Cass.

*Another David Tomlinson co-star, Petula Clark, who appeared with him in a 1952 English film called Made in Heaven before "Downtown" and associated chart hits led to Finian's Rainbow, a WB musical where she played a witch, also gave up a potential ABC variety show because her children didn't want to live in LA.
 
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...co-star, Glynis Johns, out of the film of A Little Night Music? That begs the question of who would have gotten the part of Mame Dennis if Lucy had turned it down.
Re: Glynnis Johns in A Little Night Music. It was a money issue. The German money men wanted a star of international stature to play the lead and Liz Taylor was that person at the time. Johns was a name, but far from being a "star". This was also the reason why the story location and the character names went Swedish to German.
 

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Similarly, what was the excuse for keeping her Court Jester co-star, Glynis Johns, out of the film of A Little Night Music?.
The obvious answer is the same as Lansbury's "I didn't get the movie because X didn't believe that I could bring the audience in." That's why Audrey Hepburn got My Fair Lady and not Julie Andrews, why Madonna got Evita and not Patti Lupone, why Natalie Wood got West Side Story and not Carol Lawrence, why Peter O'Toole got Man Of La Mancha and not Richard Kiley, why Doris Day got The Pajama Game and not Janis Paige, why Janet Leigh got Bye Bye Birdie and not Chita Rivera, why Barbra Streisand got On A Clear Day and not Barbara Harris, why Carol Burnett got Annie and not Dorothy Loudon, why Diana Ross got The Wiz and not Stephanie Mills, why Burt Reynolds got Best Little Whorehouse In Texas and not Henderson Forsythe etc. I could go on and on but you get my point.

Oh sure, there are occasions when the original star gets to repeat their role on screen (Robert Preston in The Music Man, Robert Morse in How To Succeed In Business, Gwen Verdon in Damn Yankees) but that's not the norm.
 

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Some of those casting decisions are defensible. Others are questionable but must have looked good on paper. Even original Broadway cast members won't guarantee a hit. One word: Rent. They brought back as many originals as they could for the movie and still flopped.

But what makes Lansbury getting passed over such a huge oversight is that she also had had a film career for 30 years that included musicals. She wasn't exactly an unknown who had just got off the turkey truck, or someone who had more stage experience than film. Those SF moviegoers who hissed the trailer weren't hissing the material, just the miscasting. A more vocally inclined lead might have gotten a warmer reaction and probably would not have had nearly as much negative word of mouth poisoning the well before it even came out. Even Lucy herself might have been better if she hadn't broken her leg. To anyone who feels her dancing lacks energy, that's probably why; she's holding back because she's afraid of doing it again. That's why it was hard to laugh at her falling down on Life With Lucy*: your first instinct after seeing a woman of that age doing a pratfall isn't to laugh, but to call 911.

That's why Audrey Hepburn got My Fair Lady and not Julie Andrews
Tell that to Mary Martin.

*Animals on the Chinese Zodiac run on a 12-year cycle, so 1974 and 1986 have the same symbol: the tiger.
 
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Some of those casting decisions are defensible. Others are questionable but must have looked good on paper. Even original Broadway cast members won't guarantee a hit. One word: Rent. They brought back as many originals as they could for the movie and still flopped.

But what makes Lansbury getting passed over such a huge oversight is that she also had had a film career for 30 years that included musicals. She wasn't exactly an unknown who had just got off the turkey truck, or someone who had more stage experience than film. Those SF moviegoers who hissed the trailer weren't hissing the material, just the miscasting. A more vocally inclined lead might have gotten a warmer reaction and probably would not have had nearly as much negative word of mouth poisoning the well before it even came out. Even Lucy herself might have been better if she hadn't broken her leg. To anyone who feels her dancing lacks energy, that's probably why; she's holding back because she's afraid of doing it again. That's why it was hard to laugh at her falling down on Life With Lucy*: your first instinct after seeing a woman of that age doing a pratfall isn't to laugh, but to call 911.



Tell that to Mary Martin.

*Animals on the Chinese Zodiac run on a 12-year cycle, so 1974 and 1986 have the same symbol: the tiger.
Yes, Angela Lansbury had a film career for 30 years but she was not a star. She was a character actress. She finally became a Broadway star with Mame and a TV star (as in household name) with Murder She Wrote. If Murder She Wrote had debuted on TV in, say, 1971 then Lansbury just might have been allowed to play Mame.