At the Movies: Auntie Mame

Auntie MameSince all of my posts last week were devoted to Fashion Week, we missed our usual At the Movies day. But Auntie Mame works for both all of the creative fashion folks that made the week so much fun as well as all the decor mavens and those of us who straddle both worlds. Who doesn’t love this marvelous classic? “Life’s a banquet, and most suckers are starving to death.” Don’t those words just say it all?

photo: Everett Collection

Based on the runaway bestseller by Patrick Dennis, the 1958 comedy is a movie of unrestrained visual glamour and perfectly scripted clever banter. Rosalind Russell stars, as she did on stage, as the free-spirited indefatigable society figure who becomes responsible for raising her brother’s 10 year old son, Patrick.

Auntie MameThis movie has everything – fabulous humor, heartwarming sentimentality, great costumes and sets, wonderful script by the accomplished team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green and biting social commentary (including my very own town)!

Of course it’s Rosalind Russell who makes the movie. I just can’t imagine anyone else – EVER – as Mame. Russell embodies Mame’s devil may care attitude and adventurous bohemian spirit with the utmost perfection.

Auntie MameWho else could possibly make all Mame’s crazy capers seem not only so utterly appealing but even plausible. There is also a wonderful supporting cast with Peggy Cass, Coral Browne and Forrest Tucker.

Auntie MameMame’s numerous costume changes are matched only by her Beekman Avenueapartment’s frequent redesigns. From 1920’s urban glamour to chinoiserie chic, the sets will cause you to hit the pause button to take in every detail.


Auntie MameIf you are ever feeling down or stuck, this is the movie to pull out (or stream from Netflix). It will instantly lift your spirits. You’ll want to dress up, redecorate, travel and entertain! Russell’s Mame is the ultimate survivor.

Auntie MameHer limitless lust for life is contagious and will inspire you to open your heart and mind! A favorite clip below, but if by some chance you’ve never seen, be aware – major spoiler alert! Enjoy!!

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45 Responses to At the Movies: Auntie Mame

  1. Vicki Archer says:

    I loved this movie…thanks for the prompt…I must re-watch this….xv

  2. I love auntie mame — it is so good. Doesn’t she look like Annette Benning? Maybe she could star in a remake..

  3. Jane Schott says:

    I did just as you said and saw “Mame” on Netflix. It was just what the doctor ordered for last night! As you said, I hope that NO ONE ever thinks they can remake this film. It is Fab..fini.

    • Elizabeth says:

      There is a later version starring Lucille Ball. It’s different, like the scenes of Mame going down South to meet her fiance’s rich, stuck-up family and winning them over, but you might like that version, as well.

  4. Tonia says:

    I love the costumes! Talk about fabulous, they black lace jumpsuit is.

  5. The Zhush says:

    One of my all time faves! (the couple from Darien!LOL!) Infact, I often say that I want to be Auntie Mame when I grow up…

  6. Tabitha says:

    I watched this for the first time last year and fell in love with her and her ever changing decor.

  7. How on earth have I never seen this movie???? How? Looks like I’ll be zipping over to Amazon (sadly no Netflix in my neck of the woods) but I will be happy to buy it as it seems like something to watch over and over again.
    As always your taste and recommendations are amazing!

  8. Courtney Cherna says:

    You’re so right. Mame is perfect in every way. Our family loves it at Christmas too!

  9. One I haven’t seen! I will see if I can find it.
    Have a wonderful weekend, q.

  10. David Toms says:

    One of my all time favourite movies which I have forgottom how many times I have seen! It continues to delight over and over again. Mame’s costume and interior changes are all to die for and as you say worth hitting the pause button over.

    There was another remake done with Lucille Ball as Mame which although not as good, has its merits. One of the merits in the remake is that Bea Arthur plays the role of Vera Charles, and it is worth seeing for her performance alone!

  11. LiveLikeYou says:

    I love this series you do!!Another movie I’m adding to my list. Now I just need free time to watch them all!

  12. designchic says:

    I think I now know what movie my husband and I will be watching tonight…Happy Friday!!

  13. The Devoted Classicist says:

    As much as I love Lucy, her version is often cringe-inducing. But Roz pulled off the role beautifully. As for the interiors, I used to plead to the TV as a child “That is great, don’t change it!”.

  14. one of my favorites..simply divine…

  15. Oh, I haven’t watched this since I was a girl– must remedy that! Such a happy film. Thanks for the reminder!

  16. stitchfork says:

    That’s a classic!

  17. elle says:

    I have had a lifelong aspiration to be Auntie Mame. She rises to every challenge with zest and success and I want that apartment – in any incarnation. Thank you for reminding me about this wonderful movie – and that it is a netflix streaming.

  18. Such a classic! Happy weekend! xx

  19. Stacey says:

    I’m yet to see this one. However, it seems like i’ll be adding yet another must see to my movie list based on your fantastic review:-). Happy weekend to you lovely lady! XX

  20. Barbara says:

    A perfect clip!! Must watch again soon. Happy Oscar weekend. ; )

  21. You made such a great choice, like so many others, I love this movie!

    Sending you wishes for a wonderful weekend!

  22. I remember seeing this movie as a child on a Saturday morning then again as an adult – two very different experiences. “When you’re from Pittsburgh you have to do something” made me laugh out loud. I’ve never thought of it before but while watching the clip I was kind of reminded of Allison Janney just a little, in looks mostly.

  23. Now that I’m sending “How to Steal a Million” back to Netflix, I’ll have to add this one to my queue – it’s been ages since I’ve seen this classic and sand along with the songs! Happy weekend, Q!

  24. What a great post! This film is full of inspiration – I definitely need to watch it again. :)

  25. Karena says:

    I have always loved this movie and haven’t watched for years!!
    Thank you for the reminder!!

    Have a great weekend!

    Art by Karena

  26. I adore Auntie Mame!! And actually I could use a little bit of her spirit and motivation right now, might be time to see it again this weekend.

  27. Great review and details of this movie…I ‘ve never seen the whole thing from beginning to end…crazy I know!!! The set decoration is so brilliant. Don’t you wish you could have been in on all the decisions…or at least along for the ride!

    In the video clip you provided, I couldn’t help noticing the floating shelves…staggered no less on the wall…it’s hard to believe people think that is such a new and modern idea …from Pottery Barn!

    Have a great weekend!

  28. I love this feature that you do, on the old classic films. I am inspired to see them all. Thanks for the beautiful posts on these movies. And I agree with you, who wouldn’t want to be inspired by Auntie Mame’s zest for life!

  29. I bought this on DVD at Christmas. It sounds SO up my street. And those sets!! I think I might have to make it our Sunday movie this weekend.

    Have a great one xx

  30. mary jo says:

    Rosalind Russel is so fab! And those white apartments + spiral staircase–breathtaking! This will be on my weekend pleasures list if I get a chance to watch a movie. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    xo Mary Jo

  31. Danielle says:

    Brilliantly written!!! You have convinced a girl who never watches old movies, to watch this flick asap. I know I am a tad embarrassed to admit, but I just don’t gravitate to older movies. I rarely even watch new ones and TV forget it. Can’t wait to watch this one though! Thanks so much for sharing!

  32. great!!! happy weekend

  33. I love old movies..dont think I have seen this one but I can see the flavor of the movie in your pictures and have a feeling I would enjoy it….will have to check it out. I have been in a “old movies” state of mind lately, watched Gone with the wind and Love Story this week..nothing like the classics!!
    Have a super weekend!

  34. Tish Jett says:

    What a marvelous movie. Do you think it would be possible to have a re-make? It seems to me that’s just the type of film we need now — sophisticated banter; a soupçon of good, common sense delivered with wit and oh the clothes, the decor. . .

    Who today could be Mame?


  35. I have never seen the movie, but would love to, as I’ve heard so many references to Mame…I would like to know what’s all about.

    Tonight we are “in”….so hoping we’ll get to watch a movie in front of a fire.

  36. Kathy says:

    Fabulous Rosalind of my all time favs…..great writing…fantastic sets…a must see…k

  37. Kathysue says:

    Loved this movie, what a fun post. Thanks for stopping by and I agree with your comment to leave the computer or a blog is like leaving the party in the middle. Too fun!!! KS

  38. abby jenkins says:

    THE BEST MOVIE! I think that Auntie Mame was the real reason why I became an interior designer and set dresser. Everything about that classic is glam and fabulous!
    Happy Bday to your sister!

  39. Oh how unbelievably glamorous is that first lace fringe coat?!

    Have a lovely weekend my dear!

  40. debby says:

    I must live under a rock… I have never heard of this film. I will have to check it out! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend! xo

  41. I have always loved this movie and your reviews are just wonderful. I could just hole up in my pajamas and watch movies by the fire for an entire weekend. Never leave the house. Doesn’t that sound just wonderful?

  42. This is one of my favourite films and I adore your review, sweetie:) Hope you are having a faantastic weekend

  43. Pat Allen says:

    I am live blogging with the team at tonight and just took a break to catch up on my favorite blogs in between the idle banter and tiresome Oscar Night. They didn’t make any like Mame this year. Love your Movie Days.


  44. No doubt a favorite here! I loved having a niece to lavish things on-every childless woman should have at least one to mame. pgt

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