During her career in film, Rosalind Russell appeared in about fifty films.
It was around 1939, or about twenty films in, that she began to receive duly warranted star billing. And after The Women, and her fast-talking, wise-cracking Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday, she was a star.
Moving comfortably between Broadway and Hollywood, she opened in the adaptation of Patrick Dennis’ novel Auntie Mame at the Broadhurst on Halloween 1956, and that treat ended up placing her front and center in Warner Bros. production, directed by Morton DaCosta (who had directed her on Broadway), in the film of the same name.
True to its theater roots, the film version is slightly stage-bound, but that’s not a bad thing, as it accurately replicates the original work, opened up, where necessary.
Auntie Mame opened as Warner’s Christmas production in 1958, and I saw it at a theater in Philadelphia, during the holidays.
On a big screen.
My memory of it, placed it on interesting turf, as like Sayonara, The Big Country, and The Vikings, it was an early Technirama production, which had the look and textures of many of the roadshow, 70mm productions to which I was becoming familiar.
Technirama was, like VistaVision, a double frame process, which yielded extraordinary results, whether reduction printed via matrices to 35mm dye transfer prints, by Technicolor, or like Spartacus, released in 70mm, with each print struck from the original camera negative.
Warner Archive has taken the sixty year-old film elements, and created a magnificent Blu-ray edition.
Gorgeous finely grained film elements, yield a wonderfully highly resolved image, with superb color, and beautiful black levels, Auntie Mame is once again, in “treat” category.
If you’ve never seen it, now is the perfect time, as this is a film not to be missed. And certainly not to be confused with the 1974 musical version, starring Lucille Ball.
This is the great one.
Did I mention that Auntie Mame was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Actress (Rosalind Russell), Actress in a Supporting Role (Peggy Cass), Art Direction, Cinematography (Harry Stradling, Sr.), Film Editing (William Ziegler)…
and Best Picture?
Image – 5
Audio – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass
Upgrade from DVD – You’d better believe it!
Very Highly Recommended