Because 603 posts wasn''t enough to cover everything there is to say about this film and Lucy''s beloved performance in it
So glad you started this OP because I have a question. Did Janis Paige ever play Mame? That clip of Jane Morgan reminded me of Janis except for Jane''s slide trombone phrasing of the lyrics.
The Janis Paige Fan Club
Janis Paige replaced Lansbury in Mame, I think.
I don''t think it was Janis. I think it was Ann Miller who replaced Lansbury.
You are WRONG, r3. Janis Paige did replace Lansbury, followed by Jane Morgan, and then finally Ann Miller.%0D\
The other Broadway Mame was Celeste Holm, who did it during Lansbury''s vacation.
Also, for the record, the Broadway Mames in the straight play were Russell, Miss Greer Garson (whose performance I would LOVE to have seen), and Lady Peel (Beatrice Lillie).
No, Ann Miller came after Janis Paige. %0D\
Paige was the first Mame replacement. Celeste Holm, who did the national tour did do the role while Lansbury was on vacation but it was Paige the replacment. I think Jane Morgan was third followed by Ann Miller.
And let''s not forget that Ginger Rogers headed the London company and Susan Hayward, the ''tab'' version in Vegas.
Now that we''ve settled that matter, can we please get the thread back on track to its original purpose: the heated debate about whether or not Lucy was good in the movie.
Anyone know who took over for Celeste Holm in the tour? Did she do the entire tour?%0D\
Was there a second bus and truck tour?
I know Gretchen Wyler and Constance Towers did the role in stock
[quote]Susan Hayward, the ''tab'' version in Vegas.%0D\
What''s a "tab" version?
Tab version----Las Vegas would pare the show down to 90 minutes. Got to get those gamblers back out to the tables.%0D\
The one show that currently plays in Vegas and is full length is MAMMA MIA! Maybe JERSEY BOYS. PHANTOM OF THE OPERA clocks in at 90 minutes and believe me, it''s an improvement!%0D\
When HAIRSPRAY played Vegas, it was cut back to 90 minutes.
Mame? When did I eat Mame?
The DVD was not released in stereo but in mono.%0D\
It is in anamorphic wide screen so it looks good on widescreen TVs.
I'll never forget seeing Helen Lawson, who replaced Totie Fields, who replaced Joyce Van Patten, who replaced Rhonda Fleming, who replaced Opal Bailey (Pearl Bailey's semi-retarded cousin), who replaced Celeste Holm as Mame, one matinee when I attended as a chaperone for the Staten Island Blind League's Annual Manhattan Field Trippe. Miss Lawson quickly realized that 80% of the 60%-full house was as sightless as her bald pussy, and proceeded to park her ass on a folding chair with a bottle and what looked like a very large shot glass, and recite her part while reading a combination of Variety, the Racing Form, and some yellowed fan mail with her feet up on a table. Hence the comment about her blind, bald pussy.
Nevertheless, the audience loved the performance, although the other actors obviously were at a loss of what to do with the blocking in lieu of their star's presence. The male dwarf they had playing Gooch (No, not Michael Dunn. The other one.) finally ran over and tried pulling her chair closer to center stage, and Lawson proceeded to hit him over the head, forgetting her cigarette and drink, setting his Gooch wig on fire. The few sighted people in the audience screamed, and the blind people thought something risque was happening and started clapping and shouting in a strange suggestive manner that I assume they thought was what adult Manhattanites did when "turned on." Luckily the little man was doused before the flames reached scalp or scruff.
Lawson attempted a bow at the end but fell out of her chair and when the curtain closed only her head was visible, without a spotlight on it or anything. But I had six ladies to tend to and by then it was raining and all those slickers to get arranged.
A memorable day!
But the Lucy movie made me rather wish I was blind. In fact, she was filmed through so much Vaseline I actually thought I had cataracts and I spent $75 at the eye doctor to be told that it was Lucy and not my eyes that was at fault.
I never posted on the other thread but I have to say that I saw it on VHS (I rented it myself!) when I was 12 and I loved it. I love Lucy.
The original Broadway MAME was down to three choices - Angela, Nannette Fabray & Dolores Gray.%0D\
I would have KILLED to have seen Gray. Did she ever do it in stock?
Well, if they were all so hot for Nanette and Dolores, it seems pretty strange to me that neither of those ladies ever did the show on Broadway or one of the tours. Neither were exactly very busy in the late 60s.
Karen Grassle was supposed to do Mame in Vegas fairly recently (within the past decade) but got cold feet and backed out at the last minute. Once she bailed so did most of the investors and there went that.
Lucie Arnaz said in her one woman show that Gene Saks made her lose 20lbs for Mame which severely impaired her health and her singing and dancing skills.
Who the fuck is Karen Grassle?
Karen Grassle is no Lillian Keegan, that''s fer sure.
Why would Gene Saks make Lucie Arnaz lose 20 pounds? Why would he care what she weighed?
Supposedly Lucie Arnaz is going to be playing Mame somewhere - I think in the autumn - I read it online someplace. Can''t believe it hasn''t been mentioned yet.
[quote] I stand by my sources. Not only did Depalma BEG Lucy to play the Angie Dickinson part he gave her veto power on the Michael Caine role.\
Your "sources" lied to you. It never happened. Check with DePalma himself.
Sorry R 22, Lucie said that Gene made her mother lose 20lbs (said she was too hippy to be a flapper and no one would by her if she didn''t drop the lbs pronto!)
[italic] "She didn''t want to be typecast." You don''t get typecast doing one film every fifteen years. [/italic]\
He''s referring to Manchurian Candidate. Lansbury felt Nurse Ratchet was too close to the character she''d already played in "The Manchurian Candidate."
Sorry, r24, you are wrong. DePalma was very vocal in Hollywood at the time about how sexually magnetic he found Lucy.
You''re lying, r27. Look up any Brian DePalma source and you''ll find that he wanted Liv Ullmann to play Dickison''s role - not Lucille Ball.\
Maybe your friend misheard DePalma describing how he found Lucille Ball "sexually pathetic" and he thought he said "sexually magnetic." That must be it.
I don''t need to look anything up, r28. I heard from his own mouth at a cocktail party how he used to screen MAME late at night and visualize the heat Lucy would have brought to the sex scenes.
[quote]Well, if they were all so hot for Nanette and Dolores, it seems pretty strange to me that neither of those ladies ever did the show on Broadway or one of the tours.%0D\
The producers wanted Nanette badly but she refused to audition for them. Her feeling was that they ought to know her work and if they really wanted her they''d simply cast her. Lansbury later scoffed at this attitude as she herself went through multiple auditions before putting her foot down and saying, "cast me now or lose me forever." %0D\
As Nanette felt it was beneath her to audition she (and perhaps Dolores Gray) would have also felt it was unbefitting her alleged star status to replace someone else on Broadway.
Oh yes, it made so much more sense for Nanette to just sit out the 1960s on her Palm Springs veranda.
She was waiting for the next revival of "Arms and The Girl".
Dumb Dumb Nanette
I know this is heresy....and I love Angela, but...%0D\
I wish Gray would have gotten it.
She would have been FEERSE!
This has got to be the gayest thread IN THE WORLD........Darling.
The Mame DVD is in mono? Why do they do that? Just so they can put out a "special edition" with stereo sound down the road?\
And how many times has the Roz Gypsy been put out on DVD, and still no stereo sound?!
I agree, R33. I love Gray and didn''t know she was considered for the role until the first Mame thread. Fabray though, I don''t know about that one.
R35- The Rosalind Rissell / Natalie Wood GYPSY DVD is in 5.1 surround. At least the first release was. Just checked.%0D\
Don''t know about the one that came with the Natalie W. collection.%0D
R14''s post is genius. I''m weeping with laughter at my desk!
Dolores Gray (who did audition) would have been glam as Mame, but she would have been colder than ice in the role. She would have been much more suited for Vera Charles.
Someone''s posted a whole bunch of audio clips of a 1966 Mame rehearsal on YouTube. Fun to hear Bea and Angie perform the cut "Camouflage," and hear Angie sing "Love is Only Love.''\
There''s also an audio of Anne Francine and Angie doing "Bosom Buddies," and Francine isn''t nearly as funny as Bea.
[quote]The Mame DVD is in mono? Why do they do that?\
Because if they had released it in stereo, Lucy would have sounded like you were sitting in a swamp, surrounded by a chorus of frogs.
R22/23/24/26/28/41/42 practically carries the thread on her own, doesn''t she? It''s always nice to have an arbiter around to make sure everything is kept ultra correct. Let''s see what she has to say about the quality of other posts, once she''s done contributing her insights and trivia. I''ll bet she even checks troll-dar for us!
r44 is just pissed because he got caught posting weird shit on the Jessica Lange thread, and because he tried so very hard with that long Helen Lawson post when Helen Lawson jokes are as tired as his ass.
By "weird shit" R45 means the usual DL silliness. She is on a tizzy and running around troll-darring like a mad hatter. Since her favorite usage on this thread is to call people liars, you see what you have. Of course she is a font of knowledge, but like all specialists there is a lack of - uh - other qualities, leading to some scary behaviors. I''ll certainly try not to provoke it in the future. It''s too ugly.
Angela Lansbury sounds like a WASP getting fucked up the ass when she sings. She''s a little too virginal for the role. Bea you could believe as Mame. %0D\
The first "Mame" thread was taken over by ATC trash who still play the soundtrack on their wrecka players. Let''s try to steer this one towards more sane waters. %0D\
The poster in R45 and the rest is really over the top. If he wants to be the queen of this thread, fine, but stalking people on other threads makes him an ass hole.
Wow. That queen at R45 (and everywhere else) really thinks she owns this thread, and others, apparently. \
R14, I loved your Helen Lawson story. I wish I had been there.
I love a good Helen Lawson story too. R14''s was one of the funniest in ages. %0D\
Why do people think Bea Arthur would have been a good Mame? Her singing voice is a sort of thin braying sound and she can barely sustain a tone. I can see her shouting her way through "It''s Today" but I can''t imagine her pulling off "If He Walked into My Life." %0D\
Also, you know how you feel a little sorry for young Patrick because his character was stuck living with Lucille Ball? I always felt that way about Phillip, Maude''s grandson on TV, because he had to live in a household dominated by Bea ("we can hear you!") Arthur.
[quote]if they had released it in stereo, Lucy would have sounded like you were sitting in a swamp, surrounded by a chorus of frogs.
Instead you've got a chorus of frogs in front of you.
I thought this had been settled. Lucy was all wrong for the part. Even Bea Arthur said so.
The late in the run review of Anne Francine in the Broadway company said she heaved her bon mots like anvils into the audience. The review was also eerily prescient in its prediction of super long running shows...it said something like "forty years from now I expect to go to the Winter Garden Theatre and see Judy Garland's great-granddaughter as MAME"
[quote]At least the Lucy-Mame version has all the fascination of a slow motion car crash: people still talk about it as if they were emotionally scarred during a viewing.
I like that quote from a previous Mame thread.
[quote]I would have KILLED to have seen Gray. Did she ever do it in stock?
May I ask a dumb question? What is "stock"? I just know it's what Christina said she was acting in in Mommie Dearest.
[quote]people still talk about it as if they were emotionally scarred during a viewing.
That's true. It took a long time to recover from that horrible film.
This could have been a great film with the right star. I wish there would be a do-over. CZJ could nail it!
Madonna should star in a remake--what a perfect bookend to Lucy's MAME that would be!
[quote]May I ask a dumb question? What is "stock"? I just know it's what Christina said she was acting in in Mommie Dearest.
I think it's summer stock.
Helen Lawson should've played Mame.
Dont know if this has been posted but the interviewer said word was going round Hollywood that Mame was one of the best musicals ever produced. Surely for Lucy's benefit. She seems a bit worried and desperate here that people go see it and that people like it.
R56 rent Summer Stock. It's the movie Judy Garland sang Get Happy in and you'll get the gist about summer stock theater.
Helen Lawson did a tab version in Atlantic City.
I meant in the movie, R64. She would've brought a certain [italic]je ne sais quoi[/italic] to the picture that Lucy lacked.
I saw Janis Paige play the title role in Mame in May 1968. It was during my high school senior class trip to NYC from Fredericksburg, VA. Also saw Lloyd Bridges and Betsy Palmer in Cactus Flower. Dinner at Mama Leones'. What a great time.
Janis Paige... Janis... Paige...
No, doesn't ring a bell.
... hey, you! I want flan, NOW!
It's time for a do over on Mame - maybe a TV version.
Christine Baranski as Mame? Pop Megan Mullaley as Vera.
Baranski and Mullaley sound like a good team for those roles.
Yes, its time for a new movie or TV version of MAME.
It's exactly 40 years ago that MAME with Lucille Ball opened at Radio City's Music Hall.
How about combining MAME on Broadway with another long-running show that's still on -- "MAME MIA."
Until recently it was the worst performance by a female in a lead role in a screen musical.
Then, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse: Carrie Underwood's Maria von Trapp.
I get the idea that Gene Saks was kind of an asshole. In the Bea Arthur interview linked to up thread, she says that Gene more or less ordered her to take the part in the movie, even though she didn't want to.
She also says that "Maude" destroyed her marriage. Was Gene jealous of her success?
"It's exactly 40 years ago that MAME with Lucille Ball opened at Radio City's Music Hall."
I would have expected DL to have an automatic override that would replace any instance of the typed words "MAME with Lucille Ball" with simply LUCY MAME (or LUCYMAME?).
Dear [R5], don't forget about me!
Lucy in MAME was good.
She was over criticized because of her fame and the fact she is not a singer. Like anything else that is over hyped or has someone beyond famous, expectations are too high. It was a good, fun, sweet movie. Should it be on the best 100 movies list? No. Is it worth seeing if you are a Lucy fan (even if not). Definitely.
Time for a redo? Maybe. As long as NBC does not have its fingers in it or you will get another remade garbage Sound of Music type show complete with Wal Mart type people.
NBC could redo MAME but only if the title role goes to Stephen Moyer.
[quote]Lucy in MAME was good... she is not a singer.
Brilliant!!!!! She was "good" in a musical, followed by "she is not a singer."
That's like saying "Gabourey Sidibe looks slim these days" followed by "she weighs 347 pounds."
Lucy sucked big ones in MAME. She was horrible. She was totally miscast. She ruined a wonderful musical.
"She ruined a wonderful musical."
A musical that so many people seem to love (not sure why), but has never had a successful revival on Broadway.
It did not suck.
There is also acting in addition to singing in a musical and in case you have not noticed, MOST people who are in musicals can't sing a note.
Are you implying that Lucy's acting was good in MAME, r80?
If it had been a remake of "Auntie Mame" (a non-musical) she still didn't have what it would take to carry it off.
What's with all the Lucy haters?
She was just fine. Should she have won an award, no (but many award winners also should not have, calling Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, etc.
Yes, Lucy was pretty good. Do you remember her TV move The Stone Pillow. Pretty good acting too.
R84, you don't have to be a Lucy hater to think Mame was a disaster.
I like Lucy for a lot of things, but she really should have retired around 1968 at the very latest.
Jeeze, we've got another hate-monger, too stupid to know the difference between not liking a performance and "hate."
Mame's theatrical trailer at link. (For those who haven't witnessed it.) It's better than the movie itself.
I think Lucy is okay in the movie. What I don't get and have never gotten is the love for the Rosalind Russell version, which is simply awful (Oscar nominated for it to boot!). Lucy's at least has some bad camp value to it. Russell in her prime was superb, but her late period work was wretched.
The Ball version would have worked better had Bea and Lucy traded roles. But no way would Lucy have agreed to play second to anyone during that period of her career.
The problem with Lucy is that she thought people would only accept her playing variations of Lucy Ricardo. The public never really got the full brunt of her talents those last twenty years, and that's a shame. She was a great actress.
Hopefully, someone WILL have something interesting to say. R14 alone redeems this thread.
Jane "Gooch" Connell died this year. Also too old for her role.
Does anyone remember Janis Paige's TV show early-mid 50s ' Its Always Jan" ? I think it was a summer replacement for Lucy
Janis Paige was the replacement for Angela Lansbury when Angela left the original Broadway production of MAME in the Spring of 1968.
The MAME replacements, bar Annie Miller, were rather uninspiring.
Ann Miller would have been better than Lucy in the film.
It's time for a good TV version of "Mame."
Starring Patrick Wilson as Mame.
Oh. That. Trailer. "The most versatile actress of all time."
Beatrice Arthur was so wooden, so disdainful of her character.
It is no surprise that she never got past the casting couch.
Lord, I was R14 and halfway through, having forgotten the post, was thinking that the queen who wrote it needed an editor. But it WAS a memorable performance.
It was the suggestion that Ann Miller would have been better than Lucy in the film. Ball was as bad as everyone (almost everyone) has said over the years - too old, too brittle, too slow, too lazy, too desperate, too past it - and lacking in the archness and clever-but-tending-to-smug-shallowness quality that gave Auntie Mame life. But in some ways she was recognizably human, at least.
Miller never, ever, not once, not a bit, ever ever conveyed the sense that, underneath the shellac, Max Factor and numerous simultaneous applications of the thousand bottles of perfume that she boasted of owning, she was human and that her characterizations were meant to represent a human being. She was a robotic - sometimes charming, weirdly pneumatic when dancing, startling in her grin - performer.
As a child I never could quite get the image of her sexless-but-thrusting, befringed crotch lurching repeatedly at the camera at great speed in SMALL TOWN GIRL. She would have been horrible as Mame, sucking the life force out of little Patrick instead of, as Lucy did, just intoxicating him with the nicotine vapors escaping from the crevices around her mouth every time she croaked a line.
[quote] Miller never, ever, not once, not a bit, ever ever conveyed the sense that, underneath the shellac, Max Factor and numerous simultaneous applications of the thousand bottles of perfume that she boasted of owning, she was human and that her characterizations were meant to represent a human being.
You should check out her studio recording of I'm Still Here.
40 years later and you old theater queens are still bitching slapping each other over her movie version of "MAME"?
Obviously Lucy did something right.
[quote] Obviously Lucy did something right.
Listening to Gary Morton, for one thing.
Bruce Davison, who of course has proven himself a fine actor, does his best. But why put him in swim trunks in the Upson Downs scenes opposite those two hunks, Boyd and Bunny?
Lots of people fingering themselves to stone pillow on this thread.
[quote]Obviously Lucy did something right.
Indeed she did. She made a deliciously awful movie that never ceases to amaze in its sheer badness. I posted on a Mame thread from long ago that we ought to bestow her with a posthumous medal or plaque for giving us bitchy queens countless hours of mean-spirited amusement.
She coaxed the blues right out of the horn and stomped those suckers flat.
[quote]She coaxed the blues right out of the horn and stomped those suckers flat.
That's my all-time favorite quote about this film.
Has there ever been a thread about "South Pacific"?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
That's a great post, R106.
Why does no one ever acknowledge that the title number is one of the most thrilling and goosebump-raising musical sequences ever committed to film? It even outclasses Streisand's Hello Dolly at the Harmonia Gardens. Geez, let's give the movie some credit for the few things that were done flawlessly!
[quote]Ann Miller would have been better than Lucy in the film.
Even Tayor Swift would have been better than Lucy in the film.
Susan Hayward is the one I would have liked to see on stage in "Mame."
Don't know if this was mentioned already but...
Bea Arthur stated clearly many times in interviews that without Ms. Ball there would not have been a Mame film. End of story.
The "suits" (financial backers) wanted a name that would draw folks to seats, and Lucy Ball still had that sort of following.
Yes, LB's showgirl days were behind her. Yes, her scenes were often shot behind enough Vaseline or gauze that it was as if looking through very foggy windows. Also yes LB's voice was like listening to a constipated Tallulah Bankhead, but there you are.
Sure there were probably a score of legitimate singers or at least actresses (there was always dubbing if necessary)who could have given a better performance as "Mame", but did they have the same drawing power as LB?
I find myself listening from time to time the title number as well as "Loving You," the song written for Robert Preston. Damn, they both still sound great. I think it helped that the Ralph Burns orchestrations were so great and Preston was such a warm, wonderful performer.
I don't think any other film has been bashed at DL for so many years. There are untold numbers of awful films, but Lucy's "Mame" gets the most attention.
I posted on another thread that I waited hours on line at a Radio City to get into see Mame.
It was terrible but the 6,000 people I saw it with loved it.
And during the title number the whole audience sang along. They knew the words! And this was no campy SOM or Rocky Horror sing along. This was a huge general audience at a new movie musical. And of course at the end there was enormous applause. The huge Music Hall rocked.
Kind of amazing when I think about it but it was a lot of fun. Still I haven't been able to watch that thing again not even to see a young Bruce Davidson in a bathing suit.
It's heartening to know that the film and Lucy's performance is being looked at through a different, more forgiving lens today.
Instead, they gave it to LUCY "the draw" and it sank like a stone under the weight of all those bad reviews.
Another thing that makes it look tacky - all those sitcom regulars (like John McGiver) in supporting parts. I wonder if that was Lucy's doing, too?
MAME was a hot property when they made it. The title alone could sell it if we'll done. They could have cast Lansbury, made a good film (she wouldn't have had Madeline Kahn fired), gotten great reviews, and it would've made money.
[quote]Why does no one ever acknowledge that the title number is one of the most thrilling and goosebump-raising musical sequences ever committed to film?
Perhaps because it's not? They ruined it - from cutting the soft shoe patter to all those shots filmed underneath the leaping dancers. Streisand's Dolly number wasn't perfect, either, but it was a helluva lot more fun - and more solid - than the title number in Mame.
I ran into Lucie recently at a pilates class in Valley Village and after some brief cordialities she got around to mentioning that they will be doing commentary on the Criterion Collection release of Mame. She said that it will be her and one of Bea Arthur and Gene Zaks kids (can't remember which one).
Why on earth would Criterion want to release a piece of crap like Mame?
For whatever reasons the suits at Warner Bros. wanted Lucy Ball and wouldn't hear of Angela Lansbury. This despite she had done the role on Broadway and had a pretty good body of film work in America thus was not totally unknown.
One of the great "what if's" is how different the film could have been if George Cukor had not withdrawn. LB suffered an injury skiing before filming was to begin so things had to be pushed back. GC had other pots on the range so that was that.
In later years LB would claim in interviews that Angela Lansbury didn't want the part of Auntie Mame. She was "off in England somewhere helping her son get off drugs or something".. was the line LB gave. Which of course was rubbish. AL would have taken the role in a heartbeat if it was offered.
Here is another take which one finds hits closer to the mark:
"When Warner Bros. purchased the screen rights to Jerry Herman's musical version of "Auntie Mame" in 1971, it was made clear from the getgo that the show's original star, Angela Lansbury, would not be starring.
I interviewed Lansbury in December of that year - in conjunction with Disney's "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" - and asked for her take on the matter and about the then-recently announced casting of Lucille Ball as "Mame." Lansbury, ever the pro, took it in stride, explaining that Warners planned to make an inexpensive version of the show and that most of the film's budget would be invested in its star's salary.
The studio needed not just a big star, but an icon."
[quote]MAME was a hot property when they made it. The title alone could sell it if we'll done. They could have cast Lansbury, made a good film (she wouldn't have had Madeline Kahn fired), gotten great reviews, and it would've made money.
MAME wasn't that hot a property in the early 70s. It was considered facile and old-fashioned even when it opened in 1966. MAME was only filmed because CBS was canceling HERE'S LUCY.
Lucy wanted to star in a movie that would come out around the time her show left the air so she would remain "relevant" in Hollywood. She put up half the budget for MAME in exchange for the lead and a fat percentage of the box office. Had she not done so, Warner Bros. would not have produced MAME just then. Quite possibly the show never would have been filmed.
Auntie Mame was an antidote to the uptight Fifties. But by the let-it-all-hang-out Seventies she was a fossil, made all the more so by growly old Lucy.
Lots of inaccuracies there r131. First, go check the reviews MAME got on Broadway. While it would have been considered facile and old-fashioned had it opened, say, four years later, it was not considered such in 1966. Lots of "old-fashioned" musicals followed it, along with the shows like Cabaret that actually pushed the genre forward.
And MAME was in pre-production in 1971, to film in early 1972. The end of her TV show wasn't in the works yet at that point. But Lucy broke her leg, and the whole thing had to be delayed a year - that's why they lost Cukor. As it happened, it did come out as her show was winding up, but it wasn't planned that way, and Lucy pushed her way into it well before the TV show ending.
What did affect the decisions that came down was the "flop" of Bedknobs and Broomsticks, which bombed in 1971, following on the heels of Lansbury's other film comeback, "Something For Everyone," which tanked the year prior. Sandwiched in between was the disaster of "Prettybelle," Lansbury's latest Broadway bound musical, which closed on the road in March, 1971. So it's easy to see why they were gun-shy about Lansbury. Add to that the bombing of "Dolly" and "Paint Your Wagon" and "Clear Day," and the whole thing became dicey.
So one can't begrudge Jack Warner for wanting box-office insurance. He just got the wrong policy. Lucy wouldn't have been right for it when she was the right age. She was simply a wrong-headed choice.
But she certainly paid the price with reviews that tore her apart. And I think if he HAD taken a leap of faith and cast caution to the winds to go with Lansbury, he would have had a hit.
I wanna' dig up Miss Ball, just to tell her what a rotten performance she gave.
[quote]So one can't begrudge Jack Warner for wanting box-office insurance
Jack Warner retired from Warner Bros. in 1969.
[quote]Why on earth would Criterion want to release a piece of crap like Mame?
Gee, I don't know.
R136, I think Lucy was sober and standing still on the ski slope. A kid who couldn't stop himself on skis collided with her and that's how she broke her leg.
[quote] Was Lucy drunk when she broke her leg?
I believe she was standing on skis at the bottom of a slope when another skier lost control and collided with her.
"I believe she was standing on skis at the bottom of a slope when another skier lost control and collided with her."
Another good reason not to light up at the bottom of the slope, Lucy.
[italic]Bedknobs[/italic] came in 10th at the box office in 1971 and won an Oscar for its special effects out of five nominations. Its reputation at the time as a flop is based on Disney's misguided "you better make exactly as much money and win as many Oscars as that flying nanny movie or else" business model, not to mention the poor editing decisions based solely on commercial considerations, a recurring theme at Disney since Walt had died. Even in a butchered form, it still outgrossed the last two Sherman Brothers musicals Disney made put together. Julie Andrews turned it down for fear of typecasting, but even without her, it also outgrossed [italic]Star![/italic] and [italic]Darling Lili[/italic] put together. The restored version is a far better film, and Disney should be horsewhipped for not including that on Blu-ray, but people didn't get to see that version at the time. The only way you would have heard two of the three cut songs would be on the soundtrack LP, which went out of print so quickly, it took me years to find a copy. Nevertheless, since the live-action parts were filmed in 1970 and completed in, R132's timeline, if correct, suggests Lansbury couldn't have done it because pre-production overlapped with [italic]Prettybelle[/italic]. She left the country after one of her kids got involved with criminals. After B&B, she did no films until [italic]Death on the Nile[/italic] in 1978.
[italic]Mame[/italic] did not make the top 10 and did not even get nominated for any Oscars. I can't find box-office stats on it anywhere online. Jack Warner had nothing to do with it. Jerry Herman begged the new studio heads to cast Angela, even giving detailed reasons why Lucy was wrong for the part. But the problems run deeper than just Lucy. It's 20 minutes shorter than 1958's [italic]Auntie Mame[/italic] but feels far longer, which is not good for what is supposed to be a snappy comedy. There are times it feels like the actors are sitting around waiting for punchlines.
Both actresses got Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress - Musical or Comedy, and lost.
[quote]A kid who couldn't stop himself on skis collided with her and that's how she broke her leg.
Who was the kid? Do we have a name? Does he realize that with his single reckless act on the slopes, he literally changed the course of history?
I don't remember that about Cukor. I would have loved to have seen what performance he would have gotten out of Ball. She always wore clothes very well so Van Runkle had a good mannequin to work with, but God what she did to poor Bea. I'm sure Ball had some say in Arther's costumes.
[quote]Who was the kid? Do we have a name? Does he realize that with his single reckless act on the slopes, he literally changed the course of history?
All they ever found of that kid was a wool mitten that reeked of cigarette smoke. And despite the telltale clue that it contained a strand of tangerine-pink hair, no arrests were ever made in the disappearance.
Saw Auntie Mame a short while ago on TCM after not having seen it for many years. I don't think I know of any other 2 and a half hour movie that flies by so quickly and there is no need for an intermission which it never had anyway.
People claim Bedknobs was cut for its' Music Hall engagement to fit in with the stage show.
Very strange in that if the movie was important enough the Music Hall had no problem playing 2 and a half hour movies including Auntie Mame. Even MP played in its' original cut of 2:20. There are a number of others I could mention.
I think the fact is Disney started getting scare when musicals started tanking and cut it themselves.
Look what happened to Clear Day. That is one very under appreciated movie(there really are some great things in it)where I'd like to see in its' original form though I believe the cut sequences no longer exist
Read an interesting interview with Jerry Herman where he speaks about Mame and Lucy Ball.
Yes, the man begged, cried, and pleaded for Angela Lansbury but the powers that be were unmoved. He like everyone else in the business along with much of America *knew* LB couldn't sing worth a damn. We're not talking Glynis Johns, or Lee Remick cannot sing, but a voice that sounded like a constipated moose. There was talk of dubbing but again since everyone knew LB couldn't sing it would that more obvious.
Mr. Herman further goes on that LB was very professional and did her best. Putting up with hours in hair and make-up including for the former having no small amount of hair pulled out by the roots in the process. LB and JH spent *hours* with the score and while Lucy Ball did her best singing just was beyond her.
Finally the man offers he is most sad because a golden chance was missed to make Mame the film as great as it was on stage. JH offers he would love to see (and work on) a film version of Mame again. His choice for the lead would be Catherine Zeta-Jones who he claims "has it all" in that she can sing, dance and is attractive.
Read something online that Tilda Swinton is or was working on a Mame film.
Both of Lansbury's kids were heavily into drugs-Anthony and Deirdre. But Deirdre was apparently so far into a heroin addiction she could have died at any time of an overdose.
Damn Baba Wawa for making Angie cry on camera by bringing that up.
[quote]I think the fact is Disney started getting scare when musicals started tanking and cut it themselves.
Walt had to fight people in the distribution department to get the version of [italic]Mary Poppins[/italic] he wanted. He won that fight and the film got an editing Oscar (I can't think of any other reason why they'd have won that particular one), but he died before any of the others were finished. So no, Radio City did not act alone. Nor did Buena Vista stop when the Sherman brothers left Disney and some the handful of live-action musicals they made for theaters since then have also suffered significant pre- or post-release cuts. They even made cuts to rereleases of Walt-era films during this period to cap them at 2 hours. That's how bad things got in that respect.
But with [italic]Mame[/italic] it seems like you could cut at least two minutes without cutting dialogue or songs and improve the pacing of the film.
THEY SHOULD HAVE SIMPLY SWITCHED ROLES PEOPLE! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?
Bea should have been Mame. She had the clout at the time of being on a hit television show like Lucy. Angela should have been Vera Charles.
Lucy should have done Bedknobs and Brookmsticks.
Our NPR station has old-time radio on Sunday nights. Last night, Lucille Ball was one of the stars on Lux Radio Theater. It was interesting to hear her clear voice with no Lucy Ricardo whine. Years of smoking really ruined her voice.
You coax the queens right onto DL, Mame,
They give Lucille Ball such hell, Mame,
They've got their keyboards hummin'
As they plunk out a post out to beat the band,
The whole DataLounge is hummin'
Since Mame seems to stroke their prostate glands.
It's a well known fact that Vivian Vance was supposed to play movie Mame. When Lucille Ball found out, she was livid. She quickly told the producers that she would work for free and pay half of the budget if they would fire Vance and hire Lucy. The rest is cinema history.
I saw Janis Paige do "Here's Love" at the Shubert in 1963. She was perky and had red hair. She played opposite Craig Stevens, Alexis Smith's husband. Michael Bennett (and all his moles) was in the chorus. "It's the big clown balloons."
"Arm in arm, we're gonna eat mashed potatoes and pie." One of Meredith Wilson's better lyrics.
"Who was the kid? Do we have a name?"
Is "Mame" a typo? I have heard of Lucy Ball but not this movie. Is it bad enough to watch or just bad?
It's bad enough to watch....and adore!
R151 is "being funny," but Vivian Vance was, in fact, tested for the role of Vera Charles when the original Auntie Mame film was made. She lost to Coral Browne, but I'd sues love to see Viv's screen test.
R154, are you serious, or do you live in a tree?
Anyone fingering themselves to stone pillow?
[quote]Lucy should have done Bedknobs and Brookmsticks.
Aunt Martha's Old-Fashioned Salad Dressing would have actually been poisoned dragon's liver.
I can't think of any other actress whose voice was more shot to hell from cigarettes than Lucille Ball. Even Bette Davis didn't get the damage from cigs that Lucy did. From the 1960s on, Lucy sounded like a longshoreman.
I think I remember seeing a prodcution in 1983 or '85 in somewhere UpsTate new York and a professinal theater where they were chargnig money. Janus Ian was a great MaMe. But little to old, if you ask me. She saw me in the audience and waved during the big " I feel young number". I laughed so hard I nealy cried. We had sandwitches after the show at a little cafe next door. I don't remeber what I did have, but Jinus was really glad to see me ther. Mery Jonson was Goosh. It was a small cast and only 3 or 4 sounds in the orcetrea. But the dancing was great. Who new Janci was such a dancer? There was talk of it coming to Broadway in the fall of -85 any one remeber? But then I think she got a job doing something else and didnt do broAdway. So anyway i'LL alway remeber thtat sandwich i had wit Jenis. What fun of a day.
Only Rosalind Russell was the true "Mame." All other copycats will NOT be accepted. Lucille Ball was a poor choice, sorry to say. It just DID NOT work. All that money they spent on that lousy picture. Why do you keep wanting to talk about it? It was a terrible movie.
[quote]Only Rosalind Russell was the true "Mame."
Rosalind Russell was the true "Auntie Mame."
Angela Lansbury was the true "Mame."
That's the truth
She should've taken Ricky's advice and stayed out of show business.
I find it a below-average performance in an slow-moving, average movie. It's only appeal to me is watching self-parodying Miss Ball desparately hanging onto her relevance.
She certainly squeezed every last possible molecule out of her I Love Lucy fame.
"Gary, get my cigarettes!"
Catherine O'Hara as Lucy on SCTV's Sammy Maudlin Show.
I've seen some great Mame's on stage but it would be nice to have a really good filmed version.
I still have nightmares involving a gauzy Lucy & a fox. This is what comes of seeing the movie at Radio City Music Hall as a child.
[quote]I've seen some great Mame's on stage but it would be nice to have a really good filmed version.
They were going to redo it for TV in the early 2000s with Cher, who is now older than Lucy was when she played the role. At one point, they even considered Whoopi Goldberg! Why did this project not make it to completion when we got a [italic]Music Man[/italic] remake no one asked for or cares for?
Lessons have been learned, R168. And, apparently, will be relearned by NBC.
Neil Patrick Harris IS Mame!
I'm not crazy about the underhead shots of the leaping chorus members either but I really like the title number in the film. The orchestration is terrific, Robert Preston is warm and charming and the bit at the end where Mame, swathed in adoration, beckons to Patrick and he runs over and they hug, is sort of touching. I wonder how that Act One curtain moment was done on stage.
Now that I am watching Here's Lucy, I have a warm feeling for Lucille all and think she might have been right for the part after all.
BUT, in real life it turns out she wasn't...
R167, a friend told of a nightmare he had about weeding a bed of marigolds and all the marigold flowers turned into the face of Lucy and started swirling about before him like that kaleidoscope bit of twirling Lucy faces at the opening of the "The Lucy Show".
Lucy...the stuff of dreams!
The title number in the film is quite thrilling and goosebump-inducing. But Lucy doesn't sing in it.
This thread is past its prime.
The Datalounge obsession with Lucy in Mame is eternal in a way that Angela in Mame could never be.
It was actually very clever and effective to film If He Walked Into My Life as an interior monologue while Lucy was driving home from CT. And she never looked more beautiful. The woman sure knew how to give close-up.
[quote]This thread is past its prime.
Out-of-date and outclassed, by my past!
What did he love that there's none of?
What did I lose the sweet warm knack of?
Wouldn't I be the late great me if I knew how?
Oh, what did I have I don't have now?
r168: Wasn't it supposed to be directed by Streisand? And then there were rumors that the TV version of MAME would star Streisand and Brolin.
[quote]JH offers he would love to see (and work on) a film version of Mame again. His choice for the lead would be Catherine Zeta-Jones who he claims "has it all" in that she can sing, dance and is attractive.
If only this would happen.
Cillian Murphy as Mame!
[quote]The Datalounge obsession with Lucy in Mame is eternal in a way that Angela in Mame could never be.
Sort of the way one never remembers successful airline flights or ocean crossings, but the Titanic and the Hindenberg will be with us always.
W&W for R182.
In all seriousness, as much as I would have loved to see her do it, it was logistically impossible for Angela to do the movie. She left the country because her children were hooked on heroin and hanging out with the Mansons. That move probably saved their lives. I've dealt with substance abusers in my life and it isn't pretty. So what if the reverse had happened, and she did the movie but the kids' drug abuse and association with Manson had reached the point of no return?
Although Angie did move the kids to Ireland, she was available for the movie. She made that quite clear in an LA Times interview where they quoted Lucille Ball saying that Angie didn't want the role and had packed up for Ireland. "Didn't WANT the role?! Perhaps that's what they told Lucy, but it's not true. I would have killed to do that movie."
Of course she wanted the role. Why wouldn't she? But even so, it boggles the mind why Lucy wasn't dubbed. It was good enough for Audrey Hepburn and Rosalind Russell, whose respective Warner Bros. musicals were both better off for their having been dubbed, and Lucy's voice was so shot and so harsh on the ear they should have insisted on it.
The original plan was to have Lisa Kirk dub Lucy, as she had done for Roz Russell. If only they had stuck with that plan, but probably Lisa simply couldn't approximate the Lucy Ball croak.
It couldn't have sounded worse if Harvey Fierstein had dubbed Lucy's vocals.
Lucy received a modicum of voice training preparatory to opening in Wildcat. Ever after she felt she had gained sufficient skill to carry a singing role. By then she was surrounded by so many "yes-men" it was impossible to tell her otherwise. She ignored Desi when he told her a movie musical was a bad idea.
The wrongheaded decision to not dub Lucy's vocals was made by Warners producers, not her. She talked about this on the Phil Donahue show soon after the film's premiere and said she was even surprised at their decision to go with her voice. So let's please put the canard to rest that she had the final word on that aspect of the production. Apart from her poor singing, she actually acted the hell out of the role which is why she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.
[quote]she actually acted the hell out of the role which is why she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.
Same goes for Pia Zadora!
[quote]She talked about this on the Phil Donahue show soon after the film's premiere
It's not surprising that she would make this claim after every review talked about her raspy voice.
The movie would have sucked even if Lucy had been dubbed by Maria Callas.
The whole thing was dated the minute it was released. If Lansbury had played the lead, she still would have been surrounded by all that deeply unimaginative claptrap.
[quote]The whole thing was dated the minute it was released.
You're absolutely right, R191. I don't get the gay fascination with old stuff. Somebody invited me to the Metropolitan Opera recently. I found out the opera was about something that happend a couple hundred years ago. Why would I want to see some claptrap that's so dated? I refused to go. I'm not stupid, you know!
[quote]I don't get the gay fascination with old stuff.
Gay men are like archeologists. They can't get enough of ancient ruins like Madonna, Cher, and Liza Minnelli.
Lindsey Graham IS "Mame!"
[quote]Gay men are like archeologists. They can't get enough of ancient ruins like Madonna, Cher, and Liza Minnelli.
And Anderson Cooper, Hillary, and Bruce Jenner.
Two months ago, I met a guy who never heard of "Mame." Naturally I deleted him.
Cher should have done a Mame tour when she was younger.
My Best Girl is actually a lovely vocal by Ms. Ball. The rest...well the less said the better. Her dancing, especially with Robert Preston in Loving You, though was gorgeous. She learned well at MGM.
It is odd why the studio didn't make the decision to dub Lucy. Hearing Lucy croak out those songs in her cigarette-ravaged voice was just awful.
[quote]My Best Girl is actually a lovely vocal by Ms. Ball.
I beg you for you own safety and overall wellness to call 1-800-BELTONE for more information.
The opening credits of MAME are some of the best of all time. And that score!!!
With the advances in digital audio, it seems they could rework her vocals.
[quote]With the advances in digital audio, it seems they could rework her vocals.
Yes, but why? It's not like it's a good movie except for Lucy's singing. They would need to digitally erase Lucy and fill in a computer-generated Angela Lansbury circa 1973. And while they're at it, they could replace that awful kid who played Young Patrick.
Around the time of Mame's release, gossip columnist Radie Harris published a story saying that Warners had recorded back up vocals for Ball with Lisa Kirk but that Ball was outraged and flatly forbid Warners from using them in the film, as they allegedly wanted. (Harris is nearly forgotten today but back then she was a Very Big Deal.)
Both Ball and Warners immediately issued strong denials in the press and then Ball personally sued Harris. Harris printed an apology and complete retraction.
Because of this, rumors still persist that there is a Mame soundtrack with Lisa Kirk hidden somewhere in the vaults. But both Kirk and Jerry Herman are on record as stating there is no such recording.
Jerry Herman coached Ball on the songs and described in either his autobiography or that wonderful book on the various incarnations of the Mame character how excruciating it was to get anything useful from her during the recording sessions. Most of her songs had to be patched together phrase by phrase and even note by note from many different takes. (Remember this was not only long before autotune but any digital manipulation/editing.)
Even though the film was planned for stereo, the patch job on her vocals resulted in the film being released in mono to help cover up the mess. Despite the fact that much of the original advertising and press material says stereo (as does IMDB), the film itself was always mono, which is why the DVD is mono. The soundtrack album is mixed differently than the actual film soundtrack and is in stereo.
The same BWW poster who put together the "Follies movie" being discussed on the Follies thread (53 minutes of most of the known footage of the original production from various sources cleaned up and edited together) has just posted some footage of Lansbury as Mame on his youtube channel.
It's 29 minutes of silent color footage from the 1966 OBC that he has synched to a soundboard of the 1968 LA production with mostly the same cast. Note that Bea Arthur is the film footage but her replacement Anne Francine is on the soundboard. I think this is as close as we have to extended sound footage from the original production, although there are several full boots of Lansbury's less exciting 1983 tour/revival. I'm open to correction by any collectors.
I was ready. I was available. Hell, I was even sober. But those bastards went with the fake redhead. Frogvoiced cunt!
Well, sorry Miss Lawson, but Margaret Whiting wasn't willing to stand backstage 8 times a week to sing your songs while you lipsynched.
Did Philip Morris get a "special thanks to" credit at the end of the movie?
Yes, R210, it was a little animated stick figure of dancing Lucy lighting up and puffing but it hasn't been seen since the first release.
r207, what a joyous video! That original show must have been sensational, and makes the movie look even worse than it already it.
I just requested from the library the original Broadway cast recording, which I have never heard.
You will love it, R213.
The title song was much more thrilling and heart-stopping in the film.
What a shame that Angela Lansbury didn't do the film version. That would've been fantastic to see. According to people who saw Lansbury in Mame on Broadway, she gave one of the best performances in the history of musical theater.
Bea Arthur said in interviews she wished she were working with Angela instead of Lucy the whole time they were making the film.
Go to the 5:10 mark to hear Bea Arthur talk about the film version of Mame and how embarrassing it was.