roxy1927

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Mame was epic in it's failure. Though a guilty pleasure is watching It's Today on youtube. Lucy sings it as a dirge as if she were dreading the day ahead. At any age she was wrong for the role. She couldn't put on the effortless sophistication both Russell and Lansbury could but she could do the comedy like in the Macy's sequence.

That being said I saw it on a Sunday afternoon at Radio City after waiting 2 hours on line. The place was packed and I'm telling you the audience sang along with the title number(really) and applauded at the end of most of the songs including Gooch's Song(really.)
I don't think I've ever been with an audience that enjoyed a film more. It was as if they were at the best movie musical ever. I guess all that hard work brought a bit of joy into their humdrum lives and Lucy's work wasn't in vain. Bless them.
 

Thomas T

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But “Mame” is just one of those cases of Hollywood folklore in which I ponder upon the “What If” factor.

What if the Tony Award winning actress, who originated the role, got to do the film? What if Hollywood postponed the production until Angela Lansbury became available? What if Lucille Ball, who was inspired by Angela Lansbury’s very performance, had recognized that the role was never really hers to have?
While "what if" casting is often fun to ponder, one has to keep one foot in reality. And the reality is that Mame just isn't a very good movie. Would the presence of Angela Lansbury in the film of Mame made it a good movie? No! It may have made it slightly more enjoyable but a bad movie is still a bad movie. The casting of Lucille Ball as Mame didn't turn a good movie into a bad movie. A better script, a more creative director might have turned it into a good movie.

Similarly, using the "what if" scenario, what if Vera Miles hadn't gotten pregnant and played Judy/Madeline in Hitchcock's Vertigo as originally intended, would Vertigo been ruined? No, because it is a great movie. But it would have been (imo) slightly less effective because Miles lacked Kim Novak's screen presence, ethereal quality and vulnerability which all contributed to the film's spell.

Bottom line: a bad movie is still a bad movie regardless of who stars in it and a good movie is a good movie regardless of who stars in it. There are always exceptions of course. If A Streetcar Named Desire had starred Henry Fonda as Stanley and Marlene Dietrich as Blanche, I'd say we had a turkey! :D
 
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Worth

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...Bottom line: a bad movie is still a bad movie regardless of who stars in it and a good movie is a good movie regardless of who stars in it...
True, but casting decisions can have unintended ripple effects. Had Either John Gavin or James Brolin played James Bond in Diamonds are Forever or Octopussy, respectively, as they nearly did, I think it would have killed off the series and changed the trajectory of the careers of Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Prierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.
 
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PMF

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IMHO, the attributes of “Mame”(1974) were the
Orchestrations by Ralph Burns, Cinematography by Philip H. Lathrop, Costumes by Theadora Van Runkle, the commanding ease of Robert Preston and, for good measure, I’ll even throw in the cameo role of the fox, as well.

BTW, wasn’t this thread about “The Opposite Sex”?;)
 
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Thomas T

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True, but casting decisions can have unintended ripple effects. Had Either John Gavin or James Brolin played James Bond in Diamonds are Forever or Octopussy, respectively, as they nearly did, I think it would have killed off the series and changed the trajectory of the careers of Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.
There's something in that but remember, the casting of George Lazenby didn't kill off the Bond franchise :) But yes, I suppose we'd better get back to The Opposite Sex before the moderators slap our wrists. They hate it when we get off subject :D
 
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Ethan Riley

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I don't think The Opposite Sex is a bad movie, I just think it doesn't ever get off the ground. If you call it a turkey, that's fine. Because believe it or not, turkeys can fly for short distances. They just don't wanna.
 
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Thomas T

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I don't think The Opposite Sex is a bad movie, I just think it doesn't ever get off the ground. If you call it a turkey, that's fine. Because believe it or not, turkeys can fly for short distances. They just don't wanna.
Turkey is delicious, much better than chicken. For some of us, The Opposite Sex is a little oasis of pleasure.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link. As an Amazon Associate HTF earns from qualifying purchases

 

RobertSiegel

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While "what if" casting is often fun to ponder, one has to keep one foot in reality. And the reality is that Mame just isn't a very good movie. Would the presence of Angela Lansbury in the film of Mame made it a good movie? No! It may have made it slightly more enjoyable but a bad movie is still a bad movie. The casting of Lucille Ball as Mame didn't turn a good movie into a bad movie. A better script, a more creative director might have turned it into a good movie.

Similarly, using the "what if" scenario, what if Vera Miles hadn't gotten pregnant and played Judy/Madeline in Hitchcock's Vertigo as originally intended, would Vertigo been ruined? No, because it is a great movie. But it would have been (imo) slightly less effective because Miles lacked Kim Novak's screen presence, ethereal quality and vulnerability which all contributed to the film's spell.

Bottom line: a bad movie is still a bad movie regardless of who stars in it and a good movie is a good movie regardless of who stars in it. There are always exceptions of course. If A Streetcar Named Desire had starred Henry Fonda as Stanley and Marlene Dietrich as Blanche, I'd say we had a turkey! :D
I think there were creative problems with the movie MAME. Lucy wanted it to be exactly like the Broadway show, and I don't think it had great direction. But the property is ten star property, and with the right ingredients, a movie of MAME could be just fantastic because it contains one heck of a great musical score and a story that is beloved. I was always hoping that another movie version, maybe a TV movie had been made, which almost happened. Jerry Herman was wanting Angela to do this for TV, and even Angela's husband was pushing her but she felt she was too old for the part (I don't agree), so instead she wanted to do a favor for Jerry Herman and they did Mrs. Santa Clause through Hallmark, which is a great original musical, but I wish she had agreed to do Mame. I do like the orchestrations, especially "It's Today" which gives a great feeling of the 20's, where on the Broadway cast album it has very little 20's feel. But the sad story for me is the lack of stereo sound, who in their right minds would make this movie only in mono, it was a HUGE mistake. I had a short interview with George Feltenstein way back when they were doing Warner chats on this site (but talked to him on the phone) and he told me they really tried hard to do the DVD of MAME in stereo, but without giving me any reasons, he said they just couldn't put it together.

I just love the show and would love to see a movie come of it that actually works. Had Angela Lansbury done the movie in 1974 that Warner released, with everything the same except the star, I kind of agree with you that it wouldn't have been a nock out, but I do think it would have been so much better because the songs would have been given justice.
 
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Harold Chasen

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To try, yet again, to bring this back to The Opposite Sex:

I just saw this on TCM. A side tip: if you have a cable system that carries TCM and you have a Roku, you can get the Watch TCM app on it. The quality of the stream was much higher than watching my DVR'd copy of the SD broadcast. This is particularly true for titles, like this one, in widescreen, that I have to blow up to fill my screen. (My "cable" system is Verizon, and it doesn't carry TCM in HD). Movies appear on Watch TCM shortly after they're shown on TCM, and stay on for about a week.

I liked the movie well enough, while still seeing the various problems. I think one's reaction depends on how much you like The Women. I don't care so much for the original (I know, I have to turn in my gay card immediately), so I don't view the idea of a remake as a desecration.

And the colors alone are going to make me buy the BluRay. Lots of deliberate clashes, similar in some scenes to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. And no, I'm not kidding. Watch the cat fight in the kitchen, with the green walls, the blues and purples of the women's dresses, the coppertone refrigerator - the way it's all cut together really does remind me of the Demy film (for instance, the sequence where Genevieve comes home after making love with Guy). Or, in the final sequence, the way June Allyson's red dress is the only red in the frame - even as the scenes shift from the nightclub audience to the nightclub stage to the dressing room to the "ladies lounge," the film's designers (both costume and sets) seemed to have kept other reds out of any of the shots.

And speaking of gay, a number of the IMDB reviewers talk about how butch Ann Sheridan's character is. And there's Agnes Moorehead. But the one who really came across as VERY lesbian was Charlotte Greenwood. I've seen her in other movies, but she never had such as butch vibe as here.

Then there's the "Now Baby Now" number, which not only has wild colors (those purple double basses!), but also would make the perfect "double feature" with the "Thanks A Lot But No Thanks" number in It's Always Fair Weather. Both feature chorus boys who seem to have been directed to ignore the female singing the song, to odd but compelling effect.

So, while this may not be a "great" or even a "good" movie, for me it's a very interesting one. And I find I watch the interesting ones more often than the good ones, so I'll be buying this.
 

Will Krupp

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Well I didn't order mine until this past Thursday so I didn't get it until yesterday. I don't think I've seen it in years since I had always preferred to forget about it in favor of the original. I sat down to watch it last night and decided I would NOT compare it to the 1939 film this time, but make an honest attempt to let it live and breathe in a world of its own.

Well, I have to say, I don't know if the pandemic and my lack of a social life these days is making me soft or what but I had SO much fun with this movie! It may be because the disc looks SO damned terrific but it went down very smoothly and I thought it was a complete hoot. For the first time I "let go" of the 1939 movie and allowed the great 1950's atmosphere to wash over me. I reveled in the production design, the clothes (the CLOTHES!!) and the performances which I found to be uniformly better than I remembered.

Can we talk about the LOOK of this? This disc is absolutely eye-popping! I may be corrected, but I don't think that I've ever enjoyed "Metrocolor" this much before. A positive stunner.

I don't care so much for the original (I know, I have to turn in my gay card immediately), so I don't view the idea of a remake as a desecration.
The 1939 is one of my absolute favorite movies. I don't , however, think remakes of anything are a desecration and can be fun when taken on their own. The 2008 Diane English remake failed on every level, in my opinion, but this at least stays true to the spirit of the original (with a FEW exceptions) and it still works wonderfully well.

I am afraid, however, that I HAVE found it necessary to report your lack of affection for the George Cukor original and you should be hearing from "the board" about the status of your card shortly. Sorry, not my rules! :lol:

There are some differences that prove impossible to ignore even when trying, however. Strangely, the movie falters mostly when it hews closest to the original. As much as I love the wonderful Agnes Moorhead (and I DO!) she doesn't have the same sense of absurdity in her delivery that made Mary Boland a peerless comedienne and the Countess suffers for it. One of the highlights of the 1939 movie for me is the delicious scene of the three ladies drinking champagne "on the train to Reno" ("I was halfway down that mountain before I realized that Gustav didn't love me anymore") but here it's a shadow of itself. The same is true of THE comic highlight of the original, the absurd cat fight/ballet between Rosalind Russell and Paulette Goddard (which I STILL find to be one of the funniest sequences ever put on film) which falls, I think, completely flat in the remake. It's silly rather than funny and feels too calculated and rehearsed. Other than that, I think the movie works very well within its own universe, and the musical numbers work within the story as well. Not only do we get the completely forgivable (yet wonderful) kitsch of "Banana" and "Now Baby Now" (lets not get into "Rock n Roll Tumbleweed") June Allyson fans also get the undeniable pleasure hearing her sing "Young Man with a Horn" in the flashback (with the added oomph of Harry James, no less!)

I'm not sure if there are people reading this who still haven't seen the movie so I'll put a spoiler tag on for this part.

I found it interesting that there were tonal changes between the two as well. Here, in the remake, they go to great pains to paint Stephen as a complete victim to Crystal's manipulation. The poor hapless schmoe seems always on the verge of trying to break it off and we're never meant to hold Stephen responsible for his infidelity. I don't know it it's because the 1930's had a more cynical (and quite frankly, honest) view of marriage than the Eisenhower 1950's did or if it's simply because, SEEING Stephen in the flesh, we have to sympathize with him or the whole thing unravels.

In any event, I thought this was great fun and I'm really really happy that you all convinced me I should get it! Thanks, guys!
 
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Will Krupp

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I won't read the spoiler because after these two reviews(I can't believe I'm saying this)I have to get it.
I feel you. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it! **








**(Again, full disclosure, the pandemic MAY be making me lose my mind so I'm not exactly a reliable witness!)
 

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