Auntie Mame

I can’t think of a more vibrant, exuberant character than Auntie Mame played by Rosalind Russell.

“Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”

When young Patrick’s father dies, he’s sent to live with his vivacious Auntie Mame. Before you know it, he’s stirring the perfect martini and at a progressive school where clothing is optional. His trustee Mr. Babcock is appalled and Patrick is shipped off to a boarding school but gets to spend every holiday with his only living relative Auntie Mame, a free-spirit and free-thinker.

Dwight Babcock: I dropped by the Bixby School. And what do I find? I find he isn’t even registered there, he never has been. So I’ve been hunting through every low, crockpot school in this town, and I finally found him in the lowest of them all.

Mame Dennis: Mr. Page is a progressive educator…

Dwight Babcock: There they were, a schoolroom full of them: boys, girls, teachers, romping around stark naked, bare as the day they were born.

Mame Dennis: I assure you that the children under Mr. Page’s care were engaged in normal, healthful, broadening pursuits.

Dwight Babcock: Broadening? You show them what you were doing when I broke into that place. Go ahead, show them.

Patrick Dennis: We were just playing Fish Families.

Dwight Babcock: Fish Families!

Patrick Dennis: It’s part of “constructive play”.

Dwight Babcock: Now, listen to this.

Mame Dennis: Show me now, darling, show me.

Patrick Dennis: Well, we do it right after yogurt time. Mrs. Page and all the girls crouch down on the floor under the sun lamps. And they pretend to be lady fishes, depositing their eggs in the sand. Then Mr. Page and all the boys do what gentlemen fish do.

Mame Dennis: [pause] What could be more wholesome or natural?

When the market crashes, Mame loses her fortune and takes on a variety of jobs which she botches with aplomb. All looks bleak till Game meets an oil tycoon from Texas who soon marries her after she defies his family’s efforts to ridicule her.

Sally Cato: [before a fox-hunt] Well? Shall we to the hounds?
Mame Dennis: [muttering] Yeah, I’d love to meet your family.

The film delights from start to finish. Same does face her share of slings and arrows and always faces them with courage, charm and wit. I haven’t seen this film in years and found it one of the most delightful films I’ve seen in years. I’d say this is a perfect film. I must find more of Rosalind Russell’s films, though I fear few films can match or exceed this comedic masterpiece.

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