Branislau Kaper's "Auntie Mame" Score

Patrick Dennis (Jan Handzlik), orphaned when his father unexpectedly dies, is placed in the care of Mame Dennis (Rosalind Russell), his father's sister. Mame is a flamboyant, madcap woman. Patrick is quickly introduced to his aunt's free-spirited and eccentric lifestyle, including Vera Charles (Coral Browne), a lush Broadway actress, who spends many of her nights passed out in Mame's guest room. Mame's frequently repeated motto is "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!"

Since Patrick's father was a wealthy man at the time of his death, Patrick's inheritance comes with an executor, Mr. Dwight Babcock (Fred Clark). Mr. Babcock disapproves of Mame's lifestyle and wants to interject decorum and discipline in Patrick's life. Mame has Patrick enrolled at a progressive school run by a friend of hers. Mr. Babcock insists that Patrick be enrolled at a nearby boy's prep school. When he finds out that Mame has not enrolled Patrick at Bixby's, he issues an order: Patrick is to go to boarding school and Mame will only see him at the holidays.

When Mame's investments are lost when the stock market crashes, she takes a series of jobs -- acting, telephone operator, sales girl at Macy's -- that all end disastrously. At her sales job at Macy's, she meets a man named Beaureguard Burnside (Forrest Tucker), an oil man from the South. He's immediately smitten with her and she falls in love with him as well. Mame and Patrick visit Beau's family estate.

Sally Cato (Brook Byron), who's in love with Beau, tries to sabotage Mame's relationship. She organizes a foxhunt, suspecting Mame is lying about being a horsewoman (which she is) and gives her a wild horse. Mame manages to stay on the horse and catches the fox at the end. Beau proposes to her on the spot in front of his family.

For their honeymoon, Beau and Mame travel around the world. Mame is sad about leaving Patrick, but they keep in touch through letters and frequent visits during holidays. Through their correspondence, Mame gets a sense that Patrick is growing into a stuffy, conventional man, and she worries for him.

When Beau dies accidentally while they are climbing the Matterhorn, Mame returns home. Patrick surprises her by installing a dictating machines and a secretary, Agnes Gooch (Peggy Cass), for her convenience. He and her friends convince her to write her autobiography.

Patrick and Lindsay Woolsey (Patric Knowles), a friend of Mame's, arrange for a collaborator (and ghost writer) for Mame, a Mr. Brian O'Bannion (Robin Hughes). Mame is immediately smitten with him. While Mame dictates her life to her secretary and both of them are hard at work on her autobiography, O'Bannion does nothing.

Patrick returns from college and announces that he has a girlfriend, Gloria Upson (Joanna Barnes), and wants to bring her over to meet Mame. He cautions Mame to act responsibly while Gloria is there. and Mame says she will do whatever he wants to make him and Gloria happy.

O'Bannion insists Mame go to this party and some movie producers that are interested in Mame's autobiography. But Mame dresses Agnes up and sends her to the party in her place with O'Bannion. When Agnes returns the next day, she is disheveled and cannot remember anything of her night before.

Patrick brings Gloria over, but Mame is horrified to see how upper-crust and snobby she is. Against Patrick's wishes, she goes to visit Gloria's family. Her parents are just as bad as Gloria and Mame wants nothing to do with them, much to Patricks disappointment. However, Mame arranges a dinner party at her apartment and she invites Gloria, her parents, and Mr. Babcock... and a few of Mame's closest friends, including Vera, Lindsay and the man who runs the progressive school Patrick used to attend. The evening is a disaster and when Gloria's mother insults Mame, Patrick defends her. Gloria and her parents leave, much to Mr. Babcock's disappointment.

Since Agnes is several months pregnant from her night with O'Bannion (who she finds out married her that night at the party), Mame needs a new secretary. Patrick meets Pegeen Ryan (Pippa Scott), Mame's new secretary and falls madly in love with her and they get married.

Several years later, Patrick (Roger Smith) and Pegeen's son, Michael (Terry Kelman), wants to travel with Mame on her trip to India. Between the two of them, they wear down Patrick and Pegeen's objections and the movie fades away as Mame tells Michael of all the wondrous sights they will see.

Oscar
6 Nominations
0 Awards

Golden Globes
3 Nominations
2 Awards
Best Picture
Best Actress
No one ever has, or ever will, embody Auntie Mame as well as Rosalind Russell, who, by the time her Broadway performance in the role was filmed, had honed her portrayal to one of the finest in American theatre and film. Listen to her vocal technique: from high girlish squeals to basso-profundo sarcasm. Or watch her remarkable body language throughout -- from grande dame theatricality to lowbrow burlesque.

Russell's supporting players are also magnificent -- from the 12-year old Jan Handzlik, through Coral Browne, a little known actress who makes a meal of Vera Charles. Peggy Cass is hilarious as Agnes Gooch; Forrest Tucker is a charmer as Burnside. And who almost, but not quite, steal their scenes from Miss Russell are Willard Waterman, Lee Patrick and Joanna Barnes as the unforgettable Upsons. Never has there been a family of snobs quite exquisitely portrayed as by these three.
George James Hopkins' brilliant sets and set design,and Orry-Kelly's amazing costumes, along with Branislau Kaper's score and Morton Da Costa's direction are flawless, showing off this cast at the top of their form.

The famous line, originally from the Broadway play and not found in the novel, is "Life is a banquet! And most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death!" The words “damn" and "hell" are heard in the film: but "sons-of-bitches" was apparently too strong for 1958 and sadly it was reduced to ‘suckers’.

Miss Russell's performance, here at the zenith of her long and distinguished comedic and dramatic career is an acting lesson unto itself. She should have won an Academy Award for this role but she refused to campaign for it. No one will ever come close to getting that perfect timing that she displays in every scene. You love her from the moment she shakes the monkey's hand in the second scene. Everything about this picture makes it a true classic of the American cinema; one of those rare movies that makes you laugh, but even more important, makes you feel good!!! They don't get any better than this!