Mame (1974) (Blu-ray) Available for Preorder

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101 Comments

  1. Yeah, I never liked this movie. I wasn't a fan of musicals back then, but even I thought Lucille Ball was miscast for this film as I thought "Auntie Mame" was a better film version with Rosalind Russell being rightly cast. Just my humble opinion.

  2. Robert Crawford

    Yeah, I never liked this movie. I wasn't a fan of musicals back then, but even I thought Lucille Ball was miscast for this film as I thought "Auntie Mame" was a better film version with Rosalind Russell being rightly cast. Just my humble opinion.

    In complete agreement with you. Nice cover art, though.

  3. I wasn't expecting this! I rewatched it earlier this year for the first time in ages and I don't think it's nearly as bad as its reputation. Lucy is a favourite of mine, but of course would have preferred Lansbury in the role.

  4. Mark-P

    This release will be both reviled and welcomed.

    I agree. I'm always happy for more musicals to come to Blu-ray, but having seen the Broadway stage version twice (once with Janis Paige and then with Ann Miller), the movie with Lucy is a feeble representation of the vastly entertaining stage original.

  5. Mark-P

    This release will be both reviled and welcomed.

    Often by the same people!! 🙂

    I, for one, can't WAIT (bring it on, I will remain unbowed!) as this has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I was raised on it. It was also one of my ex's absolute favorites and was one of the two movies (HELLO, DOLLY being the other) I knew could lift his spirits if he was having a bad day.

    Plus, say what you want about Lucy in the title role, we DO get the priceless Bea Arthur recreating her Broadway turn as Vera!

  6. RBailey

    It's a shame that Madeline Kahn was fired from this film. Would have loved to see her as Agnes Gooch.

    Even if she would have been good in it, she might have lost out on the role of Lily Von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles and thus her Oscar nomination.

    Lucy's reaction to the negative criticism was to give up on movies altogether. She reacted similarly 12 years later after the public rejected Life With Lucy,* which, coincidentally, we just were talking about on another thread.

    After getting to see Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! on Broadway, I recently volunteered as an usher at a production of Mame for the South Bay Musical Theatre in Sunnyvale, CA. Even in a smaller production, it still played beautifully. That's the problem with seeing Jerry Herman shows live: they won't let you join in!

    *Speaking of Jerry Herman lyrics, albeit from Dolly, I recently learned the theme to that show was co-written by Joel Higgins. Yes, the Dad from Silver Spoons (where Pearl Bailey was a guest star twice) wrote a song for a show that didn't even outlive either his own show (produced by the same people as the Facts of Life, which still had enough life left to win its timeslot over Lucy) when it was in its final season (or, sadly, Desi Arnaz, Lucy's Ricky)! The singer, of course, was Eydie Gorme, who knocked "If He Walked Into My Life" out of the park with her single version when it was a new song.

  7. Andrew Budgell

    I wasn't expecting this! I rewatched it earlier this year for the first time in ages and I don't think it's nearly as bad as its reputation. Lucy is a favourite of mine, but of course would have preferred Lansbury in the role.

    If this is the Mame that we were going to be given, it's just as well Lansbury was passed over. It's really a low point in film musicals. Poor Lucille Ball is terrible and gets the brunt of the blame for the movie flopping but honestly even if Lansbury had done it, the central role would have been better performed but it would still be a bad movie.

  8. Bea Arthur was promoting her one woman show at a video bar called Sidetrack in Chicago in the late 90s. It was Showtunes night and before her entrance the VJ showed the song "Bosom Buddies" ….Bea entered after the video and the first words out of her mouth was….."I am so sorry that you had to watch any part of that fucking piece of shit movie" True story…I was there.

  9. Ken Koc

    Bea Arthur was promoting her one woman show at a video bar called Sidetrack in Chicago in the late 90s. It was Showtunes night and before her entrance the VJ showed the song "Bosom Buddies" ….Bea entered after the video and the first words out of her mouth was….."I am so sorry that you had to watch any part of that fucking piece of shit movie" True story…I was there.

    Yeah, I read she disowned Mame the movie.

  10. Robert Crawford

    Yeah, I read she disowned Mame the movie.

    I saw her one woman show when it played in Raleigh, NC in 2001, and she didn't even mention the movie despite performing "Bosom Buddies" and talking at length about the show and Angela Lansbury ("a mouth like a longshoreman," she said).

    Ethan Riley

    Any notes about the sound? I think they said on an older thread that it was recorded in stereo yet released in mono?

    They scrapped plans to remix it in stereo because although they had the music tracks, they couldn't find Lucy's exact vocals. The ones on the soundtrack album are different, and the orchestra sounds so much richer and fuller there than it does in the flat mono film mix. (They even mentioned this in a chat right here on HTF, IIRC.) As an arranger, Ralph Burns knew how to make the most of being saddled with less-than-perfect singers, but it sounds sublime when Lucy isn't singing. Never has a movie cried out more for an isolated score track on disc.

    Thomas T

    If this is the Mame that we were going to be given, it's just as well Lansbury was passed over. It's really a low point in film musicals. Poor Lucille Ball is terrible and gets the brunt of the blame for the movie flopping but honestly even if Lansbury had done it, the central role would have been better performed but it would still be a bad movie.

    Along with the story about Madeline Kahn being cast and replaced, I've heard multiple times they originally wanted George Cukor* to direct and Bette Davis, whose singing in What Ever Happened To Baby Jane rivaled Lucy's here except that film treated it as a symptom of a has-been child star's mental breakdown, to co-star as Vera. We might have gotten a film that was better than what we got but still would have paled in comparison to 1958's Auntie Mame, which still plays brisker, lighter, and funnier than this film despite being 10 minutes longer.

    Part of the problem with the movie is one it inherited from the show: how the change from Auntie Mame to Mame changed Agnes Gooch by combining her character and Norah Muldoon's, who was originally Patrick's guardian who brought him to New York City. There's also the way the musical changes the ending:

    Spoiler: spoil two movies for the price of one

    Screenwriter Paul Zindel**, who later wrote the 1980s CBS-TV version of Alice in Wonderland, could have done something about this — like have both and make Mr. Upson's blood boil to the point where it almost turns into Scanners: The Musical — but chose not to.

    It's also sadly ironic that the first person you see in Mame is John McGiver, who was in The Manchurian Candidate, playing Mr. Babcock here.***

    *This was the inevitable end result of the post-My Fair Lady backlash against dubbing: 10+ years of movie musicals starring undubbed non-singers.
    **His last movie before this was a Barbra Streisand movie called Up the Sandbox, released by WB in 1972 and overshadowed by What's Up, Doc? The director of the latter movie also struck out with At Long Last Love a year later.
    ***Years ago, my father and I watched The Manchurian Candidate on DVD and he thought McGiver was David Tomlinson!

  11. Ken Koc

    Bea Arthur was promoting her one woman show at a video bar called Sidetrack in Chicago in the late 90s. It was Showtunes night and before her entrance the VJ showed the song "Bosom Buddies" ….Bea entered after the video and the first words out of her mouth was….."I am so sorry that you had to watch any part of that fucking piece of shit movie" True story…I was there.

    And her husband directed it.

  12. He would only be her husband for four more years. The same year Maude ended, 1978, so did their marriage. All of his prior films were adaptations of Neil Simon plays, which made him seem like a good choice on paper along with having directed it on Broadway.

  13. I love this film, even with it’s many flaws. Singing aside, I think Lucy’s performance is fine and I even prefer Bea Arthur and Jane Connell over their Auntie Mame counterparts Coral Browne and Peggy Cass. As the non-singer musicals of the period go, I find it vastly more entertaining than Camelot, Paint Your Wagon, Man of La Mancha, Lost Horizon and At Long Last Love.

    And it does feature some the best arrangements and scoring of a movie musical, period. Sensational work on that front.

  14. The movie actually does revert back to Auntie Mame in an area where it deviated from it for one key scene: the meeting of Mame and Beau. In Mame on stage, she became a manicurist. In Auntie Mame and Mame the movie, she works in the toy department of Macy's.

    Both the stage and screen musical also have the anachronistic "whoever thought Santa Claus would look like Rhett Butler" line regarding Beau spoken seven years before Gone With the Wind was ever published and ten years before the movie. In Auntie Mame, he's just "a Santa with a Southern accent."

    The death of the Production Code gave Mame one advantage over Auntie Mame: the seven-letter word that means Mr. Babcock could actually be spoken, while the signature "life is a banquet" axiom got by similarly un-bowdlerized. That, along with actually showing the "advanced" school Mame took Patrick to, pushed the rating up to PG.

  15. Ethan Riley

    Any notes about the sound? I think they said on an older thread that it was recorded in stereo yet released in mono?

    Dan Wallin quite over the sound production. His credits include CAMELOT—FINIANS RAINBOW —CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG—BONNIE AND CLYDE—BULLIT

  16. Will Krupp

    Often by the same people!! 🙂

    I, for one, can't WAIT (bring it on, I will remain unbowed!) as this has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I was raised on it. It was also one of my ex's absolute favorites and was one of the two movies (HELLO, DOLLY being the other) I knew could lift his spirits if he was having a bad day.

    Plus, say what you want about Lucy in the title role, we DO get the priceless Bea Arthur recreating her Broadway turn as Vera!

    I'm with you there. I totally get why this film has such a bad reputation; one only need listen to the Broadway cast recording to see what might have been, but I still like the film a lot and look forward to the Blu-ray. I think it's possibly regarded as the worst movie adaptation of a Broadway musical, or does that honor go to Man of La Mancha?

  17. *This was the inevitable end result of the post-My Fair Lady backlash against dubbing: 10+ years of movie musicals starring undubbed non-singers.

    The problem with dubbing Lucy, however, is trying to find a singing voice that could match her speaking voice; I'm not sure anyone could have been found that wouldn't have sounded totally phony. Even during her MGM musical days when her voice was a lot less huskier than it was in Mame, the dubbers they used (Gloria Grafton and Martha Mears) sounded NOTHING like Lucy making her lip-synching so fake that believability just went out the window and took me right out of the movie every time she sang.

  18. What stood out to me the last time I saw it was the outstanding production design. In particular "Mame's" portrait looks like it was painted by Gustav Klimt and her entire apartment has enough to reward multiple viewings. It should look fantastic on blu-ray.

  19. Mark-P

    I'm with you there. I totally get why this film has such a bad reputation; one only need listen to the Broadway cast recording to see what might have been, but I still like the film a lot and look forward to the Blu-ray. I think it's possibly regarded as the worst movie adaptation of a Broadway musical, or does that honor go to Man of La Mancha?

    Paint Your Wagon … 🙁

  20. Matt Hough

    The problem with dubbing Lucy, however, is trying to find a singing voice that could match her speaking voice; I'm not sure anyone could have been found that wouldn't have sounded totally phony. Even during her MGM musical days when her voice was a lot less huskier than it was in Mame, the dubbers they used (Gloria Grafton and Martha Mears) sounded NOTHING like Lucy making her lip-synching so fake that believability just went out the window and took me right out of the movie every time she sang.

    She mentioned this to Phil Donahue:

  21. When I saw this thread the first thing I thought was , Wow just in time for Halloween. This is one scary movie. With that voice and the ultra soft focus to hide the years. What is that going to look like in blu, like she is in a perpetual fog? I believe at one of those wonderful studio chats from years ago the folks at Warners even made a joke about the unlikelihood of this film being released on blu ray or maybe it was DVD. For those who are fans I hope this release is everything you want it to be from a great 4k scan. I will stick with Rosalind Russell.

    And for anyone interested here is a youtube video called miscast Mame comparing Lucille Ball with what little footage exists of Angela Lansbury as Mame.

  22. JohnMor

    I love this film, even with it’s many flaws. Singing aside, I think Lucy’s performance is fine and I even prefer Bea Arthur and Jane Connell over their Auntie Mame counterparts Coral Browne and Peggy Cass. As the non-singer musicals of the period go, I find it vastly more entertaining than Camelot, Paint Your Wagon, Man of La Mancha, Lost Horizon and At Long Last Love.

    If for no other reason than it was shorter than most of those.

  23. Rick Thompson

    Glad to see this one, WAC. Now, how about The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees?

    Those would be stellar in Blu-ray. Damn Yankees had a stereo LP soundtrack album; unfortunately, given WB's track record of keeping pre-1962 stereo tracks, I fear that may be the only stereo source and that it may have too many deviations from the film to remix it to stereo from that. I could be wrong and I very much hope I am in this case.

  24. MatthewA

    Even if she would have been good in it, she might have lost out on the role of Lily Von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles and thus her Oscar nomination.

    Lucy's reaction to the negative criticism was to give up on movies altogether. She reacted similarly 12 years later after the public rejected Life With Lucy,* which, coincidentally, we just were talking about on another thread.

    After getting to see Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! on Broadway, I recently volunteered as an usher at a production of Mame for the South Bay Musical Theatre in Sunnyvale, CA. Even in a smaller production, it still played beautifully. That's the problem with seeing Jerry Herman shows live: they won't let you join in!

    *Speaking of Jerry Herman lyrics, albeit from Dolly, I recently learned the theme to that show was co-written by Joel Higgins. Yes, the Dad from Silver Spoons (where Pearl Bailey was a guest star twice) wrote a song for a show that didn't even outlive either his own show (produced by the same people as the Facts of Life, which still had enough life left to win its timeslot over Lucy) when it was in its final season (or, sadly, Desi Arnaz, Lucy's Ricky)! The singer, of course, was Eydie Gorme, who knocked "If He Walked Into My Life" out of the park with her single version when it was a new song.

    No problem with Lucy in the role – it's still a brilliant musical. I would have loved to have seen Bette Midler in HELLO DOLLY on Broadway but I did get to see her in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF on Broadway back in 1967. Can anyone remember seeing her in FIDDLER?

  25. cinemiracle

    No problem with Lucy in the role – it's still a brilliant musical. I would have loved to have seen Bette Midler in HELLO DOLLY on Broadway but I did get to see her in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF on Broadway back in 1967. Can anyone remember seeing her in FIDDLER?

    No but here she is singing Matchmaker, Matchmaker at the 1968 Tony Awards.

  26. Richard M S

    What stood out to me the last time I saw it was the outstanding production design. In particular "Mame's" portrait looks like it was painted by Gustav Klimt and her entire apartment has enough to reward multiple viewings. It should look fantastic on blu-ray.

    And the costumes. Theodora Van Runkle hit it out of the ballpark. But, yeah, that Klimt was something else. [GALLERY=media, 5255]B532ADC6-FDCA-4902-9708-3092E63B77E7 by JohnMor posted Oct 20, 2018 at 7:46 PM[/GALLERY]

  27. RBailey

    It's a shame that Madeline Kahn was fired from this film. Would have loved to see her as Agnes Gooch.

    Lucy believed that Madeline Kahn deliberately performed badly so she would get fired and therefore be available to do Blazing Saddles.

    I don't believe Lucy gave up on films because of the poor reception to Mame. More likely films gave up on her. I believe she wanted to be the star of the movie version of Driving Miss Daisy but was not cast.

  28. Jim*Tod

    Ditto for PAJAMA GAME. Question: Did this ever have stereo tracks? I thought it was always mono. Set me straight if I am wrong on this.

    I think it was always mono. The soundtrack LP was certainly mono.

  29. 1974 was not a good year for Jerry Herman professionally in general.* Mack and Mabel flopped on Broadway; despite some great songs, they never seemed to solve the dissonance between the score and the subject matter. That and the failure of his 1979 WWII musical The Grand Tour seemed to suggest that his day was done; La Cage Aux Folles erased that perception altogether in 1983.

    *It was also the year the Sherman Brothers went to Broadway with Over Here! while Lerner and Loewe went to Hollywood to collaborate one last time on Paramount's The Little Prince, Richard Kiley's make-up role for not getting to do Man of La Mancha on film. It also had Donna McKechnie's last pre-Chorus Line role and the only film Gene Wilder made in 1974 that wasn't directed by Mel Brooks. Lerner struck out before that on Broadway in 1971 with Lolita, My Love in which Denise Nickerson, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory's Violet Beauregarde, played the title role at one point while Dorothy Loudon, later Annie's original Miss Hannigan, played the role of the mother that Shelley Winters played in the 1962 Stanley Kubrick film. Leonard Stone, who played Mr. Beauregarde in Wonka, is the stage manager in Mame.

  30. Can anyone confirm or deny the story I heard that Ball essentially bought her way into the role with a cool million bucks to
    Warners? It seems unlikely but I have seen that story repeated more than once, not that this adds any credence to it.

  31. Some of the production money came from ABC, which is why they have an "in association with" credit and why the Here's Lucy episode where Lucy Carter meets Lucille Ball, which wasn't very good even for them (Sanford and Son did a similar plot three years later and was actually better), talks about Mame but doesn't mention it by name.

    Here's hoping the Saul Bass \' is restored to the film.

  32. MatthewA

    1974 was not a good year for Jerry Herman professionally in general.* Mack and Mabel flopped on Broadway; despite some great songs, they never seemed to solve the dissonance between the score and the subject matter. .

    And to add insult to injury, despite Mack & Mabel running only a dismal 68 performances, it was nominated for eight Tony Awards, but Jerry Herman's score, almost the only thing that won unanimous praise about the production, was not nominated. He was devastated by this oversight, especially since two shows whose scores were nominated ran even fewer performances than Mack & Mabel.

  33. Matt Hough

    And to add insult to injury, despite Mack & Mabel running only a dismal 68 performances, it was nominated for eight Tony Awards, but Jerry Herman's score, almost the only thing that won unanimous praise about the production, was not nominated. He was devastated by this oversight, especially since two shows whose scores were nominated ran even fewer performances than Mack & Mabel.

    By all accounts it's really a tough show. It's commonly referred to, in Broadway parlance, as a "heartbreaker" both because the score is SO ravishing that you can listen to the OBC and wonder HOW it could possibly not have been a success, and because many have tried to take a crack at since and just can't pull it off. There have been later productions that tried to tack on a happy ending (a big number fantasy sequence) to get the taste of sadness out of the audience's mouth but it just doesn't work. It's a shame because the score really is THAT good.

  34. "Tap Your Troubles Away"* had enough recognition for Gilda Radner to sing it on The Muppet Show:


    *That was also the name of the Punky Brewster episode where Broadway veteran Gretchen Wyler played tap dance instructor Jersey Janet. I only mentioned this because Soleil Moon Frye's birthday is August 6, just like Lucy's was. Except in that episode, the musical selections weren't Jerry Herman, but "De-Lovely" by Cole Porter and "Be My Little Baby Bumblebee," a 1920s song which has been recorded by several artists including but not limited to Doris Day. Interesting how that show had virtually every genre of music on it but punk rock. Maybe if they'd waited five years to release Mame they could have sold it as the first punk rock musical. Lucy in London from 1967 was one thing, but can you imagine "Lucy Meets the Sex Pistols" as a sitcom episode or special?

  35. rsmithjr

    I have heard similar stories.

    Here is an article that said she contributed $5M.

    http://filmstarfacts.com/2017/04/05/mame-1974-end-lucy-era/

    I have ordered the new Blu-ray just to compare it to other productions of both the play and the musical.

    Thanks. Interesting info. I do remember seeing a clip from MAME on tv in 1973 and then it seemed to sit on the shelf for a really long time. I suppose Warners realized that they had a dog on their hands.

  36. Will Krupp

    By all accounts it's really a tough show. It's commonly referred to, in Broadway parlance, as a "heartbreaker" both because the score is SO ravishing that you can listen to the OBC and wonder HOW it could possibly not have been a success, and because many have tried to take a crack at since and just can't pull it off. There have been later productions that tried to tack on a happy ending (a big number fantasy sequence) to get the taste of sadness out of the audience's mouth but it just doesn't work. It's a shame because the score is really THAT good.

    Agreed… incredible score especially the heartbreaking "Time Heals Everything" but definitely a book that just can't be remedied. It says something that Bernadette Peters and Robert Preston, both superb pros, couldn't make it work.

  37. Jim*Tod

    Thanks. Interesting info. I do remember seeing a clip from MAME on tv in 1973 and then it seemed to sit on the shelf for a really long time. I suppose Warners realized that they had a dog on their hands.

    IIRC, it was supposed to be a Christmas 1973 release, but once it was clear that it was likely not going to win any Oscars, they pushed it back to spring 1974. Even Blazing Saddles, which was not expected to be as big a hit as it was, came out before it, coming out February 7 while Mame came out on March 27.

    Ironically, WB wouldn't cast Angela Lansbury despite Jerry Herman's begging because to their mind she wasn't a box office draw, and most of her pre-Mame film roles were supporting roles. Lucy was genuinely good in 1968's Yours, Mine, and Ours, which was a commercial success. Angela's follow-up role as Countess Aurelia in Dear World wasn't as successful as Mame despite earning her a second Tony. Despite the studio that made it playing musical chairs with songs and key scenes even to this day, Bedknobs and Broomsticks still got better reviews (albeit somewhat backhanded), won Disney's only Oscar for a generation or more, and outgrossed it by more than half ($17,871,174 for B&B compared to only $6,500,000 for Mame), but by the time of its late 1971 release, the wheels in motion were already in place and it was too late to turn back. The budget was almost twice the gross; by contrast, Hello, Dolly! cost twice that on screen and almost made back its money on release and might have crossed into the black had David Merrick not squeezed another million from Fox so they could release it while the Broadway show was still running, only to do battle with the already-beleagured Fox board when it finally came out.

    The movie might have been ready for its release date if Lucy hadn't broken her leg. That's why George Cukor quit. Under Cukor, it might have been a fine follow-up to My Fair Lady. Gene Saks* directs the book scenes as if he was still directing Neil Simon**; maybe he would have been a better fit for a theoretical movie of Promises, Promises.*** Even as it is, there are good things in it, but they only add up to a partially satisfying whole at best. But I'll buy a copy eventually just because I want to see how it looks up in HD; Auntie Mame probably hadn't looked anywhere near as good as the Blu-ray does in years and I owned the laserdisc and DVD.

    *I understand the TV production of Bye Bye Birdie is closer to the original stage show, but in that case that's not always a good thing. I couldn't finish it. I'm sorry Craig Zadan died, but I felt his work was wildly inconsistent. I'm not sorry they didn't go through with the remake starring that woman who married Sonny Bono and Gregg Allman that might have been like a realization of the nightmare Buzz had in Love! Valour! Compassion! about her and Robert Goulet headlining in West Side Story.
    **Whom my grandfather once called "a hack" at one of his legendarily speedy Passover seders when I was a teen.
    ***Unlike Warner Bros., Man of La Mancha didn't totally sour United Artists on musicals since they still made Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Hair before they crossed through Heaven's gate into Leo the Lion's waiting paws. I wonder if there are enough United Artists musicals to build a fourth volume of That's Entertainment! around. Probably not, but it's a lovely, lonely thought.

  38. I was 13 when this came out and loved it as did the other audiences i was it with. I get now the skirt-lifting haters, but it has its charms. I did meet Joyce Van Patten once, whose performance was excellent. She and I both discussed the hate and agreed the film wasn't that bad. But she told me that it's critical failure had "broken Lucy's heart."

  39. Mark Mayes

    I was 13 when this came out and loved it as did the other audiences i was it with. I get now the skirt-lifting haters, but it has its charms. I did meet Joyce Van Patten once, whose performance was excellent. She and I both discussed the hate and agreed the film wasn't that bad. But she told me that it's critical failure had "broken Lucy's heart."

    Who else but a bosom buddy would point out the obvious flaws? 😀 That song is why it was such a delightful coincidence to see the film's other Lucy, Lucille Benson, on the TV sitcom Bosom Buddies six years later.* But I love Lucy's comment about the criticism of her vocal stylings: "She stays out all night, smokes cigarettes, and drinks. What do you expect her to sound like, Julie Andrews?"**

    You have a point, though. A film can be flawed in one or more ways, but its critics can also be guilty of hyperbole or snark-for-snark's-sake. Like you, I was also 13 when I first rented it on tape along with the original Hairspray. Even in pan-and-scan, it wasn't the worst thing I'd ever seen, and this was an era when I sought out some real clunkers just to see how many were worth the effort to sit through. I even managed to find Myra Breckinridge (for which Theadora Van Runkle also did the costumes) on tape for rental when it was out of print!***

    *Was I the only one who liked Peter Scolari better than Tom Hanks?
    **No comment.
    ***I actually did a book report on that for school; trying to re-read it as an adult is easier said than done. That was never going to be good no matter who directed it or starred in it. The funniest thing about it is how many people involved with it ended up making family film musicals! The one musical of the late 1960s/early 1970s I never found for rent anywhere was Song of Norway.

  40. MatthewA

    IIRC, it was supposed to be a Christmas 1973 release, but once it was clear that it was likely not going to win any Oscars, they pushed it back to spring 1974. Even Blazing Saddles, which was not expected to be as big a hit as it was, came out before it, coming out February 7 while Mame came out on March 27.

    I tend to think it was less sinister than that. They desperately wanted MAME to be launched at Radio City Music Hall and I think that, if they decided to move the film's debut from Christmas 1973 (which I'm not entirely convinced was ever the plan) it was probably because Disney's ROBIN HOOD was holding court at the Music Hall and Easter 1974 was the next available holiday. Holiday shows and RCMH were still thought of as "events," an idea that wouldn't last much longer as the Music Hall was about to enter it's final slide. In fact, between those two engagements the Music Hall hosted an International "Ice Review," went dark for a week, and then booked Bob Crane in SUPER DAD (blech!) In any event, while the film may have opened NATIONALLY on March 27th, it actually opened at the Music Hall on Thursday, March 7th. I'm not sure how full the houses were, but it played there for about two and a half months.

    MatthewA

    Despite the studio that made it playing musical chairs with songs and key scenes even to this day, Bedknobs and Broomsticks still got better reviews (albeit somewhat backhanded), won Disney's only Oscar for a generation or more, and outgrossed it by more than half ($17,871,174 for B&B compared to only $6,500,000 for Mame), but by the time of its late 1971 release, the wheels in motion were already in place and it was too late to turn back.

    Be careful there, as you're comparing apples to oranges. That $6,500,000 MAME number represents the RENTALS the film earned and returned to Warner Brothers (roughly half of the gross) while your BEDKNOBS number is taken from a site that tracks box office GROSS itself. The rentals BEDKNOBS earned and returned to the studio during its initial release were $8,500,000 according to contemporary box office charts. While that's still better than MAME did, the difference is not nearly as stark as your post would indicate.

  41. I was managing a theater that ran the film when it was released. I didn't like the film at all, and we lost a bundle on the engagement. At the time someone told me that Lucy's vocals were mixed with another singer's.

  42. Mark Mayes

    I get now the skirt-lifting haters, but it has its charms.

    I have to admit I've looked at this multiple times and I cannot fathom what you mean here. Can you enlighten me as to what "skirt-lifting haters" are? LOL… I'm stumped!

  43. As an adult I can acknowledge the flaws of this film, but as an 11-year old in love with Lucy it brought me great joy. When it played our neighborhood theater (on a double bill with The Great Gatsby) I boldly asked the theater manager for the poster. He gave it to me. I found the poster in a tube just a few weeks ago and after 40 years finally had it framed. Not a great pic, it is still in plastic wrap from the framers. The matting is a pale lavender that matches Lucy's dress. I am thrilled to have it on blu, and while I doubt it is possible, I am hoping for stereo sound as Ralph Burns' orchestrations are outstanding. How I wish I could have gone to the fashion show, but not only did I found out after the fact, I would have had to work really hard to get my parents to take me.
    View attachment 50965 View attachment 50966

  44. That's something to have. I think the black poster was actually the teaser poster version. And it's rare. Just try finding one on ebay or wherever.

    I'm not naive about Mame's merits. It has a lot of good things in it. Of course, Bea Arthur and Robert Preston were Broadway legends already and they really did their best with what they had to work with. I think Robert's "Loving You" was a definite highlight of the film, and I am grateful they didn't do it as a duet. Lucy is silent.

    They just shouldn't have trusted her vocals, they really are that bad. And I might as well blame the fact that she couldn't stop chain smoking. It freezes part of your vocal chords and she couldn't go anywhere with her voice. If she'd just stopped smoking for the run of the film, we might have got a few more notes out of her. As it was, they probably should have hired a Lucy sound-alike and ignored the fallout. I realize she had the most well-known voice on television at that time, and everyone would have known, but still. As it is, the producers seemed to cut out her vocals at the end of "It's Today" and let the chorus take over. And there's also some strange audio massaging going on in "Open A New Window" when she's with Patrick and she sings "When you wake every morning and you pull aside the shutters." It sounds like they had to combine about 3 different tracks to get one decent one out of it. I shudder to think if anyone ever releases her musical outtakes from that movie!

    And that kid who played Patrick…I don't know what the heck was going on with him. He can't act, and that role requires a good kid actor. He's not just there to deliver lines like the kids on sitcoms–the whole story really revolves around him and they just didn't give him room to breathe. Bruce Davison was fine, but his younger version…I don't know. And he generated basically zero chemistry with Lucy, which was probably hard for any kid to do in the first place. I notice that same problem with all the kids who worked with her on television, and I include her real children in that mix. They all just seem to be feeding her lines, there's no life to them at all. Patrick's got to be so much more–you have to see the whole thing play out in his eyes.

    I don't know what if anything could have ever saved that movie. It looks like Lucy's biggest, grandest vanity project and she just seems all ego, especially when she's trying to sing. It doesn't help that there's a sort of low-budget artificiality about some of the sets. They don't look real. They look good enough for tv, but not for a movie.

  45. KPmusmag

    As an adult I can acknowledge the flaws of this film, but as an 11-year old in love with Lucy it brought me great joy. When it played our neighborhood theater (on a double bill with The Great Gatsby) I boldly asked the theater manager for the poster. He gave it to me. I found the poster in a tube just a few weeks ago and after 40 years finally had it framed. Not a great pic, it is still in plastic wrap from the framers. The matting is a pale lavender that matches Lucy's dress. I am thrilled to have it on blu, and while I doubt it is possible, I am hoping for stereo sound as Ralph Burns' orchestrations are outstanding. How I wish I could have gone to the fashion show, but not only did I found out after the fact, I would have had to work really hard to get my parents to take me.
    View attachment 50965 View attachment 50966

    GREAT poster.

  46. I have seen Mame on film multiple times and always enjoy it. Is it one of the great film musicals? IMHO it isn’t but it does lift my spirits. I love musicals and celebrate any coming onto Blu Ray; I would welcome the other maligned musicals such as Paint Your Wagon and Half A Sixpence if Paramount would release or license them.
    The music of Jerry Herman is always a joy; Mack and Mable is one of the great theatre scores; love the Grand Tour (but have never seen it).
    Let’s hope that 2019 brings a great variety of musicals on Blu Ray to satisfy all fans of the genre.

  47. Ethan Riley

    Any notes about the sound? I think they said on an older thread that it was recorded in stereo yet released in mono?

    MatthewA

    […]They scrapped plans to remix it in stereo because although they had the music tracks, they couldn't find Lucy's exact vocals. The ones on the soundtrack album are different, and the orchestra sounds so much richer and fuller there than it does in the flat mono film mix. (They even mentioned this in a chat right here on HTF, IIRC.) As an arranger, Ralph Burns knew how to make the most of being saddled with less-than-perfect singers, but it sounds sublime when Lucy isn't singing. Never has a movie cried out more for an isolated score track on disc.

    ANY and ALL orchestrations of Ralph Burns demands it.
    The presence of Ralph Burns is, in fact, my only reason for purchase.
    As an overall release, though, I'm very glad to see that "Mame" is now available;
    as this is an encouraging sign that additional musicals from WAC shall continue.

  48. Ethan Riley

    Any notes about the sound? I think they said on an older thread that it was recorded in stereo yet released in mono?

    MatthewA

    […]They scrapped plans to remix it in stereo because although they had the music tracks, they couldn't find Lucy's exact vocals. The ones on the soundtrack album are different, and the orchestra sounds so much richer and fuller there than it does in the flat mono film mix. (They even mentioned this in a chat right here on HTF, IIRC.) As an arranger, Ralph Burns knew how to make the most of being saddled with less-than-perfect singers, but it sounds sublime when Lucy isn't singing. Never has a movie cried out more for an isolated score track on disc.

    ANY and ALL orchestrations of Ralph Burns demands it.
    The presence of Ralph Burns is, in fact, my only reason for purchase.
    As an overall release, though, I'm very glad to see that "Mame" is now available;
    as this is an encouraging sign that additional musicals from WAC shall continue.

  49. Matt, the soundtrack wasn’t mono, it was in stereo and is available on CD in full stereo. When I was younger, I used my VHS machine and the stereo soundtrack LP and combined 4 of the songs together and they synced perfectly, so I still have it and have 4 of the songs in true stereo with the video from the film. Unfurtunately, songs like the title song were shortened for the LP so it can’t be used to make a stereo track for the film, songs anyway. In a HTF chat with Warner years ago, I was the one who asked thye question will the film ever be released on video in stereo, and George Feltenstein said that they tried but just could not put together everything they needed to make a stereo track for the film. Reading Jerry Herman’s book “Showtune,” he explains that Lucy sang so badly that they had to record one word and tag it onto the rest of a phrase, the song he mentioned was Open a New Window. Lucy was able to sing “Open a New window open a new”, and could not get the minor note on “Door,” so they had her record the word “door” separately and they spliced it together with the rest of the sentence. I imagine that is part of the reason they cannot do a stereo track, sounds like it was a mess to record the soundtrack, Jerry Herman mentioned how frustrating this process was.

    Mame is my favorite of all the Jerry Herman scores, and he is my favorite Broadway composer aside from Rodgers and Hammerstein. I was always very saddened that Angela Lansbury was not given this movie role. Aside from Lucy’s singing of this great score, the character of Mame was an eccentric classy woman, and in my opinion Lucy just fails miserably to convey this, I don’t get any classy feeling from her. As Jerry Herman describes in his book, when he went to Warner Brothers studios immediately following his learning that Lucy was cast, he went to the top brass there and told them that Mame is a classy woman, Lucy is more of a clown, when Mame slides down the banister, it’s funny because such a classy woman would do something like this, with Lucy it is something we expect her do do and I totally agree with this.

    Now let me say here and now that I too love Lucy. I watch I Love Lucy, Here’s Lucy and The Lucy Show all the time on Hulu, sometimes an episode every day, but (IMO) she should never have been in this movie. I’ve heard from many sources that she put $5 million of her own money into this movie, so of course Warner Brothers greatly considered this. But, in my opinion, she totally destroyed this great score. The only numbers in the movie, the title song and Preston’s number and Gooche’s song, are the only numbers that have any merit. I think they did a fantastic job with the title song. But watching Lucy sing “Open a New Window” and “If he Walked into my Life” and “It’s Today” is really hard for me to get through. But because of those few numbers, that is why I will buy the blu-ray. I also like the overture, and I feel that they improved the song “It’s Today” with the more accurate 20’s orchestrations than the Broadway version had, but I think Lucy ruins that song too.

    I am glad that there are people who like this movie, and I am glad Warner Brothers has decided to release it, and who knows, maybe they finally found a way to make it true stereo, after all the orchestra was certainly recorded in stereo, but Feltenstein never mentioned if they still have those studio masters. That said I have seen this on TCM and it looks very good so the picture quality should be quite good, with what remains of Lucy’s face after the extremely soft filters were used.

    I have always hoped that one of the new TV musicals that they are making (like The Wiz, Sound of Music, Annie and Peter Pan) would be Mame, so that they could make a different record of this property than just this film. I always thought Liza Minelli would have been great. When the TV movie Mrs. Santa Claus was being discussed, Jerry Herman wanted to do Mame with Angela Lansbury for TV, but at the time Angela felt she was too old. Her husband felt otherwise and tried to talk her into it. Jerry Herman was very sick with AIDS at the time, and she nonetheless wanted to do a TV movie for him, so when she turned down MAME, he wrote Mrs. Santa Claus for her. It turned out fantastic but I would have loved to have seen her do MAME for TV. I still hold out hope that someone will do this musical justice on film in some way.

  50. I don't think anyone has mentioned that Mame was supposed to be filmed a year earlier but Lucy broke her leg and they waited for her to recover rather than replace her. They really must have believed she was a box office draw.

  51. RobertSiegel

    Matt, the soundtrack wasn't mono, it was in stereo and is available on CD in full stereo. When I was younger, I used my VHS machine and the stereo soundtrack LP and combined 4 of the songs together and they synced perfectly, so I still have it and have 4 of the songs in true stereo with the video from the film. Unfurtunately, songs like the title song were shortened for the LP so it can't be used to make a stereo track for the film, songs anyway. In a HTF chat with Warner years ago, I was the one who asked thye question will the film ever be released on video in stereo, and George Feltenstein said that they tried but just could not put together everything they needed to make a stereo track for the film. Reading Jerry Herman's book "Showtune," he explains that Lucy sang so badly that they had to record one word and tag it onto the rest of a phrase, the song he mentioned was Open a New Window. Lucy was able to sing "Open a New window open a new", and could not get the minor note on "Door," so they had her record the word "door" separately and they spliced it together with the rest of the sentence. I imagine that is part of the reason they cannot do a stereo track, sounds like it was a mess to record the soundtrack, Jerry Herman mentioned how frustrating this process was.

    Mame is my favorite of all the Jerry Herman scores, and he is my favorite Broadway composer aside from Rodgers and Hammerstein. I was always very saddened that Angela Lansbury was not given this movie role. Aside from Lucy's singing of this great score, the character of Mame was an eccentric classy woman, and in my opinion Lucy just fails miserably to convey this, I don't get any classy feeling from her. As Jerry Herman describes in his book, when he went to Warner Brothers studios immediately following his learning that Lucy was cast, he went to the top brass there and told them that Mame is a classy woman, Lucy is more of a clown, when Mame slides down the banister, it's funny because such a classy woman would do something like this, with Lucy it is something we expect her do do and I totally agree with this.

    Now let me say here and now that I too love Lucy. I watch I Love Lucy, Here's Lucy and The Lucy Show all the time on Hulu, sometimes an episode every day, but (IMO) she should never have been in this movie. I've heard from many sources that she put $5 million of her own money into this movie, so of course Warner Brothers greatly considered this. But, in my opinion, she totally destroyed this great score. The only numbers in the movie, the title song and Preston's number and Gooche's song, are the only numbers that have any merit. I think they did a fantastic job with the title song. But watching Lucy sing "Open a New Window" and "If he Walked into my Life" and "It's Today" is really hard for me to get through. But because of those few numbers, that is why I will buy the blu-ray. I also like the overture, and I feel that they improved the song "It's Today" with the more accurate 20's orchestrations than the Broadway version had, but I think Lucy ruins that song too.

    I am glad that there are people who like this movie, and I am glad Warner Brothers has decided to release it, and who knows, maybe they finally found a way to make it true stereo, after all the orchestra was certainly recorded in stereo, but Feltenstein never mentioned if they still have those studio masters. That said I have seen this on TCM and it looks very good so the picture quality should be quite good, with what remains of Lucy's face after the extremely soft filters were used.

    I have always hoped that one of the new TV musicals that they are making (like The Wiz, Sound of Music, Annie and Peter Pan) would be Mame, so that they could make a different record of this property than just this film. I always thought Liza Minelli would have been great. When the TV movie Mrs. Santa Claus was being discussed, Jerry Herman wanted to do Mame with Angela Lansbury for TV, but at the time Angela felt she was too old. Her husband felt otherwise and tried to talk her into it. Jerry Herman was very sick with AIDS at the time, and she nonetheless wanted to do a TV movie for him, so when she turned down MAME, he wrote Mrs. Santa Claus for her. It turned out fantastic but I would have loved to have seen her do MAME for TV. I still hold out hope that someone will do this musical justice on film in some way.

    If they have the separate score sessions, why can't they just make a surround track with those on the left, right, and surround channels and the mono mix in the center? Would that cause phasing issues? I can't find the thread with the studio chat, but IIRC it was her vocals—no surprise—that they had trouble finding. The pre-Dolby 1970s wasn't a great era for movie sound; the Great Recession pretty much was the last nail of the coffin for the Roadshow release model, and it was also the era when they started either tearing down a lot of those grand old movie palaces or dividing them in two or more, often at the expense of architectural interest of any kind. So to have stereo at all was still considered an event. Even so, this was not done across the board for musicals. Fiddler on the Roof* and Man of La Mancha got stereo mixes, but Bedknobs and Broomsticks didn't get one until it got restored, nor did Willy Wonka** and the Chocolate Factory which got a stereo remix for its 25th anniversary the same year; only their respective soundtrack LPs were in stereo. A lot of others were mono in theaters and stereo on their respective soundtrack LPs as well; the two Peanuts movie musicals, Rocky Horror Picture Show (IIRC remixed badly in the 1990s when the theaters' old prints were starting to give), Charlotte's Web, and most of the post-Disney Sherman Brothers musicals were that way.

    I have long heard rumors that they taped the show's 1983 revival for Showtime but for some reason never aired it. Visual confirmation of that fact would be nice. With all the remake-and-reboot mania these days and with WB getting back into musicals with Rock of Ages, Jersey Boys, and another A Star Is Born, I think the time is ripe to try Mame again. Except the script won't be able to skirt over the racism of the post-Civil War, pre-Integration South even though Mame and Beau's marriage is a symbol that the war between North and South is over. Still, I think the Upsons are worse and attitudes like that are, unfortunately, not a thing of the past today. Given that kind of power and influence, I would have chosen to remake this instead of some of the ones they did redo instead.

    Ethan Riley

    That's something to have. I think the black poster was actually the teaser poster version. And it's rare. Just try finding one on ebay or wherever.

    I'm not naive about Mame's merits. It has a lot of good things in it. Of course, Bea Arthur and Robert Preston were Broadway legends already and they really did their best with what they had to work with. I think Robert's "Loving You" was a definite highlight of the film, and I am grateful they didn't do it as a duet. Lucy is silent.

    They just shouldn't have trusted her vocals, they really are that bad. And I might as well blame the fact that she couldn't stop chain smoking. It freezes part of your vocal chords and she couldn't go anywhere with her voice. If she'd just stopped smoking for the run of the film, we might have got a few more notes out of her. As it was, they probably should have hired a Lucy sound-alike and ignored the fallout. I realize she had the most well-known voice on television at that time, and everyone would have known, but still. As it is, the producers seemed to cut out her vocals at the end of "It's Today" and let the chorus take over. And there's also some strange audio massaging going on in "Open A New Window" when she's with Patrick and she sings "When you wake every morning and you pull aside the shutters." It sounds like they had to combine about 3 different tracks to get one decent one out of it. I shudder to think if anyone ever releases her musical outtakes from that movie!

    And that kid who played Patrick…I don't know what the heck was going on with him. He can't act, and that role requires a good kid actor. He's not just there to deliver lines like the kids on sitcoms–the whole story really revolves around him and they just didn't give him room to breathe. Bruce Davison was fine, but his younger version…I don't know. And he generated basically zero chemistry with Lucy, which was probably hard for any kid to do in the first place. I notice that same problem with all the kids who worked with her on television, and I include her real children in that mix. They all just seem to be feeding her lines, there's no life to them at all. Patrick's got to be so much more–you have to see the whole thing play out in his eyes.

    I don't know what if anything could have ever saved that movie. It looks like Lucy's biggest, grandest vanity project and she just seems all ego, especially when she's trying to sing. It doesn't help that there's a sort of low-budget artificiality about some of the sets. They don't look real. They look good enough for tv, but not for a movie.

    You just explained one of many reasons why I don't consume tobacco in any form. Whoever edited the audio together should get some kind of award just for endurance. Even so, a Mame-like New York socialite of the era in which the film was made would likely have been consuming harder intoxicants than that and alcohol.

    Film stock changed between the 1960s and 1970s; somehow the bright, colorful lighting schemes that looked fine prior to the end of the 1960s somehow started to look synthetic (for lack of a better word) once color TV became the norm. Yet Blazing Saddles uses the same aesthetic but looks less fake; it works there because it comments on the inherent artifice of movies themselves. 1974 was also the last year Technicolor made dye-transfer prints. The darker, grainier look of something like The Godfather Part II would not have suited this film.

    I wasn't exceptionally impressed with Kirby Furlong, either. Jan Handzlik wasn't the greatest actor, but he seemed to bond more with Rosalind Russell. That's why you feel Roz's reaction to seeing him sent to boarding school more. To be honest, I thought the boys who played Patrick's son were better in both Auntie Mame (an uncredited Terry Kellman) and Mame (Patrick Labyorteaux), while for the adult Patrick I thought Bruce Davison was more natural than Roger Smith, who died last year at age 84 after 50 years of being married to Ann-Margret, who could have definitely been a more suitable choice for the title role.

    But one thing I wonder is whether it would even have gotten made without Lucy's money and clout. That probably helped make it easier to afford each sparkle and each spangle.

    *1979, the only full year of my parents' dating before they got married, must have been a strange year indeed in Hollywood. They put 20 minutes back into Amadeus in the 2000s, but they can't be arsed to look for film of Charlotte Rae and Nell Carter's Hair solos which only have been heard on LP. At least we never have to deal with the even-shorter-than-the-already-shortened-theatrical-cut of Bedknobs and the edited Fiddler again.
    **This also has an error: at the end of "I've Got a Golden Ticket," Charlie's mother says "wait, stop!" In the stereo remix, she just says "stop!"

  52. I remember reading years ago that Dan Wallin who worked on the sound for MAME either quit or got fired. So something was going on there.This man knows stereo–CAMELOT—FINIANS RAINBOW—CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG–ANNIE– and a ton of others.

  53. trajan007

    I remember reading years ago that Dan Wallin who worked on the sound for MAME either quit or got fired. So something was going on there.This man knows stereo–CAMELOT—FINIANS RAINBOW—CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG–ANNIE– and a ton of others.

    Indeed, what a list of credits. He did do another Bea Arthur movie: History of the World: Part 1. We were also talking about The Black Hole just the other day; he did that and The Black Stallion in the same year.

    *Who of course is a reference in Bosom Buddies.

  54. MAME (1974)
    NEW 2018 1080p HD MASTER
    Run Time 131:00
    Subtitles English SDH
    Sound Quality DTS HD-Master Audio 2.0 – English
    Aspect Ratio 16 X 9 LETTERBOX, 2.40:1
    Product Color COLOR
    Disc Configuration BD 50
    Special Features:
    Theatrical Trailer (HD)
    Vintage Featurette

    You’re invited to party hearty – and in fabulous style – with this lavish 1974 screen version of the beloved Broadway musical. Lucille Ball brings star sparkle to the title role, a high-living grande dame who’s outlandishly eccentric and, when suddenly faced with raising an orphaned nephew, fiercely loving. Veterans of the New York stage original join her: Beatrice Arthur as best friend Vera, Jane Connell as prim governessAgnes, choreographer Onna White and director Gene Saks. As Mame’s husband Beauregard, Robert Preston (The Music Man) sings “Loving You,” written specially for the film. Jerry Herman’s songs, from “It’s Today” to “We Need a Little Christmas” to “If He Walked into My Life,” rank among the best show tunes ever. For a grand time, bring home Mame.

  55. Will Krupp

    I have to admit I've looked at this multiple times and I cannot fathom what you mean here. Can you enlighten me as to what "skirt-lifting haters" are? LOL… I'm stumped!

    I just meant "prissy" in their distaste…like lifting their skirts in dismay if they saw a mouse, which sounds sexist now that I think of it.

  56. Below is some interesting info on MAME

    1. Facts and Figures on Mame
    2. Warner Bros, takes over Avery Fisher (formerly Philharmonic) Hall in
    3. Lincoln Center February 25th 1974 for two special previews of "Mame".
    4. The event is believed to be the first of its kind. Lucille Ball attends the
    5. second screening.
    6. World premiers the evening of March 7 at the Radio City Music Hall
    7. with a near record breaking advance of $882,142. First days receipts
    8. Friday March 8 is a stunning $33,500 with Variety proclaiming in their
    9. Headlines "N.Y. Loves Lucy In 'Mame' and the biggest opening
    10. week for an Easter attraction in the 42 year history of the theatre
    11. at $260,050, a record one day figure of $69,220 Saturday March 23
    12. and the biggest Easter week ever at the Music Hall, its 6th week,
    13. a blockbuster all time world wide one week record of $402,241.
    14. Mame completes a 10 week engagement at the world's largest
    15. theatre grossing a phenomenal $2,707,097. At the time the third highest
    16. gross at the Music Hall. (Odd Couple was #1, 1776 #2)
    17. West cost premier is at The Cinerama Dome in Hollywood with
    18. Lucille Ball in attendance at the premier on March 26. The first week
    19. is a wow! $42,000, and has a 13 week run grossing $251,600.

    U.S. Gross $14,600,000, according to Variety (January 1975)
    U.S. rentals- $7,200,000, according to Variety (January 1975)
    Budget- $10,400,000

  57. Thanks for sharing those facts. Well, thanks also to Ron for posting some of the details. I am surprised by the new 2018 HD master. I thought when they released the DVD, which was not really that long ago considering, that would have been mastered for high def. So I am actually excited to see the new master, and as I said while I am so disheartened that many of the songs just don’t come anywhere close to the Broadway Masterwork Columbia remastered CD, there are a few treasures for me like the overture, the title song is awesome, Gooche’s song and I do think Lucy and Bea did a fantastic job on Boosom Buddies.

    I am really intrigued by the 2.0 DTS Master track. The DVD has listed Dolby Digital English Mono, but I have seen many listings for it as Mono 1.0. So perhaps with a new mastering they did figure out a way to do some kind of stereo for this time around.Matthew, I agree with you they should have the necessary sources to do stereo, maybe when they did the DVD they did not want to spend the money on it, but Warner seems to get much more serious when they do a classic on blu-ray. Heck, I would accept SOME of the songs in stereo, and at leasy 70% of them match the soundtrack LP one hundred percent, as I said before when I was a kid I mixed my own version of the film to stereo on VHS using the soundtrack LP and alot of it lined up perfectly.

    Someone mentioned Willy Wonka here. I was actually surprised that on the blu-ray, the overture didn’t sound all that great stereo, yet if you listen to the soundtrack album it matches perfectly but has excellent stereo separation. Well, here’s hoping for a stereo Mame this time around.

  58. RobertSiegel

    there are a few treasures for me like the overture, the title song is awesome, Gooche's song (emphasis mine) and I do think Lucy and Bea did a fantastic job on Boosom Buddies.

    I'm actually happy that Madeline Kahn wasn't retained for the movie. Because of that we get to treasure her career-making turn in BLAZING SADDLES and ALSO get to savor Jane Connell repeating her Broadway role in THIS one. After Kahn was fired, Lucy was (reportedly) clamoring loudly that she wanted as much of the "New York show" as she could get (WITHOUT a trace of apparent irony) so Connell was hired, as I think she should have been from the start.

  59. trajan007

    How about releasing GOODBYE MR CHIPS?

    The only Goodbye Mr Chips I'd be interested in is the 1939 weepie with Robert Donat and Greer Garson. I put Mame and the musical remake of this movie in the same category; over-blown, undernourished and over-produced. Dull with a few bright spots. I'll give you Petula Clark in the remake – LOVE Petula. Peter O'Toole is all wrong for Chips.

  60. Matt Hough

    I agree. I'm always happy for more musicals to come to Blu-ray, but having seen the Broadway stage version twice (once with Janis Paige and then with Ann Miller), the movie with Lucy is a feeble representation of the vastly entertaining stage original.

    I love musicals too, but would really like to see more of the classic product from the genre's true golden age coming down the pike: more Jane Powell (Holiday in Mexico, Nancy Goes to Rio, Luxury Liner, Royal Wedding, Small Town Girl), and, of course, more Judy Garland (all the Mickey/Judy musicals, plus, The Harvey Girls, Summer Stock, For Me and My Gal, The Pirate).

    The anthology musicals ought to come out too – Words & Music, Till the Clouds Roll By, Thousands Cheer. And finally, where for art thou Fred Astaire – Ginger too?!?!? And then there are the memorable ones: Show Boat, Lovely to Look At, Best Foot Forward, Rosalie, The Merry Widow, The Great Ziegfeld, Maytime, Bathing Beauty, That Midnight Kiss, Good News, A Date With Judy, The Toast of New Orleans, The Student Prince, The Great Caruso, Million Dollar Mermaid, Easy to Love, Broadway Melody of 1940, High Society. Come on. No shortage of goodies here.

    In light of this embarrassment of riches, it's rather shameful to see Mame getting pushed to the head of the line.

  61. Nick*Z

    Peter O'Toole is all wrong for Chips.

    Not the first time 🙂 but we're in total disagreement here. Peter O'Toole is superb in Goodbye Mr. Chips! In addition to his well deserved Oscar nomination, he won the Italian best actor Oscar (David Di Donatello), Golden Globe for best actor in a musical and the National Board Of Review best actor award and came in second behind Jon Voight in the National Society of Film Critics best actor voting. New York Times: "O'Toole has never been better.", Roger Ebert: "O'Toole and Clark are exactly right. New York Post: "that O'Toole performance is a gem.", Life Magazine: "Nearly unaided, O'Toole and Clark make the old thing work and make it worthwhile." and Pauline Kael, The New Yorker: "O'Toole gives a romantic performance of great distinction. O'Toole's performance may sustain you through the songs."

  62. phillyrobt

    I'm sure I remembered that Baskin-Robbins had a tie-in with this movie. But can't remember the flavor!

    Reminds me when B-R had another ice cream made up to promote another musical disaster: Can't Stop the Music, the 'disco musical' starring The Village People. "Can't Stop the Nuts" was the new flavor, but it certainly has weird connotations when you consider the overly gay content in that film!

  63. MatthewA

    "Tap Your Troubles Away"* had enough recognition for Gilda Radner to sing it on The Muppet Show:


    *That was also the name of the Punky Brewster episode where Broadway veteran Gretchen Wyler played tap dance instructor Jersey Janet. I only mentioned this because Soleil Moon Frye's birthday is August 6, just like Lucy's was. Except in that episode, the musical selections weren't Jerry Herman, but "De-Lovely" by Cole Porter and "Be My Little Baby Bumblebee," a 1920s song which has been recorded by several artists including but not limited to Doris Day. Interesting how that show had virtually every genre of music on it but punk rock. Maybe if they'd waited five years to release Mame they could have sold it as the first punk rock musical. Lucy in London from 1967 was one thing, but can you imagine "Lucy Meets the Sex Pistols" as a sitcom episode or special?

    What you write is fascinating but the tiny font you use makes it almost impossible to read on my cell phone where I read most HTF threads! 🙁

  64. MatthewA

    "Tap Your Troubles Away"* had enough recognition for Gilda Radner to sing it on The Muppet Show:


    *That was also the name of the Punky Brewster episode where Broadway veteran Gretchen Wyler played tap dance instructor Jersey Janet. I only mentioned this because Soleil Moon Frye's birthday is August 6, just like Lucy's was. Except in that episode, the musical selections weren't Jerry Herman, but "De-Lovely" by Cole Porter and "Be My Little Baby Bumblebee," a 1920s song which has been recorded by several artists including but not limited to Doris Day. Interesting how that show had virtually every genre of music on it but punk rock. Maybe if they'd waited five years to release Mame they could have sold it as the first punk rock musical. Lucy in London from 1967 was one thing, but can you imagine "Lucy Meets the Sex Pistols" as a sitcom episode or special?

    What you write is fascinating but the tiny font you use makes it almost impossible to read on my cell phone where I read most HTF threads! 🙁

  65. MatthewA

    "Tap Your Troubles Away"* had enough recognition for Gilda Radner to sing it on The Muppet Show:


    *That was also the name of the Punky Brewster episode where Broadway veteran Gretchen Wyler played tap dance instructor Jersey Janet. I only mentioned this because Soleil Moon Frye's birthday is August 6, just like Lucy's was. Except in that episode, the musical selections weren't Jerry Herman, but "De-Lovely" by Cole Porter and "Be My Little Baby Bumblebee," a 1920s song which has been recorded by several artists including but not limited to Doris Day. Interesting how that show had virtually every genre of music on it but punk rock. Maybe if they'd waited five years to release Mame they could have sold it as the first punk rock musical. Lucy in London from 1967 was one thing, but can you imagine "Lucy Meets the Sex Pistols" as a sitcom episode or special?

    What you write is fascinating but the tiny font you use makes it almost impossible to read on my cell phone where I read most HTF threads! 🙁

  66. Nick*Z

    I love musicals too, but would really like to see more of the classic product from the genre's true golden age coming down the pike: more Jane Powell (Holiday in Mexico, Nancy Goes to Rio, Luxury Liner, Royal Wedding, Small Town Girl), and, of course, more Judy Garland (all the Mickey/Judy musicals, plus, The Harvey Girls, Summer Stock, For Me and My Gal, The Pirate).

    The anthology musicals ought to come out too – Words & Music, Till the Clouds Roll By, Thousands Cheer. And finally, where for art thou Fred Astaire – Ginger too?!?!? And then there are the memorable ones: Show Boat, Lovely to Look At, Best Foot Forward, Rosalie, The Merry Widow, The Great Ziegfeld, Maytime, Bathing Beauty, That Midnight Kiss, Good News, A Date With Judy, The Toast of New Orleans, The Student Prince, The Great Caruso, Million Dollar Mermaid, Easy to Love, Broadway Melody of 1940, High Society. Come on. No shortage of goodies here.

    In light of this embarrassment of riches, it's rather shameful to see Mame getting pushed to the head of the line.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. Most of the pre-1954 musicals are some of my most-wanted Warner-owned releases, and they have completely dropped off the radar, pretty much ever since WHV pulled out of catalog titles. Right now, the only hint of hope that we have is the OOP Showboat '36 DVD, which leaves us guessing that Criterion has licensed it. Otherwise, the only titles that look like they have a chance are those made in '54 and later (although who knows with High Society, since it sounds like we got Seven Brides because they found a better print, and who knows what luck they are having with the also expensive to restore High Society). Personally, I'm hoping WAC finally gets around to proving me wrong this next year (or if not, I wish they could let us know what the reason is for them only releasing the stuff made in '54 and later)!

  67. Those older musicals probably need more restoration work before they can be Blu-Ray ready. They say "nitrate won't wait," but neither will unstable dye couplers for 1950s color films shot on acetate film. It still makes me sad that Kodak didn't really do anything about it until the 1980s when Martin Scorsese and other filmmakers intervened.

    Charles Ellis

    Reminds me when B-R had another ice cream made up to promote another musical disaster: Can't Stop the Music, the 'disco musical' starring The Village People. "Can't Stop the Nuts" was the new flavor, but it certainly has weird connotations when you consider the overly gay content in that film!

    Mitigated only partially by the Jenner/Perrine romance subplot that I honestly thought the film would be better off without. It does not advance the plot and serves no purpose but to make it seem less gay to a mostly heterosexual movie audience (along with the fact that David Hodo is singing a song called "I Love You to Death" to women) that largely ignored it anyway, and it also makes the film 30 minutes longer than it needed to be. The main plot of the film is the Village People coming together as a singing group and getting themselves out there performing for the public.

    [​IMG]

    TJPC

    What you write is fascinating but the tiny font you use makes it almost impossible to read on my cell phone where I read most HTF threads! 🙁

    Sorry about the font size, but I have to prioritize based on relevance to the thread's subject matter and also simply to control the post size for people who read threads on desktop and laptop computers, as I do. Sometimes I recall something tangentially related such as that and want to share it in a way that doesn't derail it from the main topic before I forget about it. So sometimes these things become footnotes simply as a matter of organization.

  68. Astairefan

    Personally, I'm hoping WAC finally gets around to proving me wrong this next year (or if not, I wish they could let us know what the reason is for them only releasing the stuff made in '54 and later)!

    How about because there's no blu ray market for the likes of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, Jane Powell, Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson (not to mention Deanna Durbin and Betty Grable)? At the risk of sounding like a broken record, some people live in a rose colored bubble when it comes to classic films and especially musicals. Hey, I'd love stuff like Nancy Goes To Rio, Lovely To Look At or Words And Music on blu ray too and I'd snap them up in a heartbeat but I have one foot in the real world and realistically, outside of the nostalgia crowd, nobody else cares. Now Judy Garland and Astaire & Rogers are something else and need to be on blu ray but That Midnight Kiss and Maytime? C'mon!

  69. Thomas T

    Not the first time 🙂 but we're in total disagreement here. Peter O'Toole is superb in Goodbye Mr. Chips! In addition to his well deserved Oscar nomination, he won the Italian best actor Oscar (David Di Donatello), Golden Globe for best actor in a musical and the National Board Of Review best actor award and came in second behind Jon Voight in the National Society of Film Critics best actor voting. New York Times: "O'Toole has never been better.", Roger Ebert: "O'Toole and Clark are exactly right. New York Post: "that O'Toole performance is a gem.", Life Magazine: "Nearly unaided, O'Toole and Clark make the old thing work and make it worthwhile." and Pauline Kael, The New Yorker: "O'Toole gives a romantic performance of great distinction. O'Toole's performance may sustain you through the songs."

    I totally agree. O'toole said he thought it was his finest performance.

  70. I agree with you Astaire Fan and NickZ. The old musicals are golden and there are so many not yet available. But I am also in long waiting for the following post-1954 musicals on blu-ray:

    Flower Drum Song
    Sweet Charity
    Can Can
    Star!
    Thoroughly Modern Millie
    The Happiest Millionaire
    Darling Lili
    On a Clear Day you can see Forever
    The Pajama Game
    Damn Yankees

    In discussing Peter O’Toole’s performances, one I thought was superb that people usually put down was his performance in Man of La Mancha. I happen to think it was among his best performances.

  71. RobertSiegel

    I am surprised by the new 2018 HD master. I thought when they released the DVD, which was not really that long ago considering, that would have been mastered for high def. So I am actually excited to see the new master, and as I said while I am so disheartened that many of the songs just don't come anywhere close to the Broadway Masterwork Columbia remastered CD, there are a few treasures for me like the overture, the title song is awesome, Gooche's song and I do think Lucy and Bea did a fantastic job on Boosom Buddies.

    It's not unusual for Warner Archive to do new 1080p masters on titles somewhat recently released on DVD; in this case, 2007. Warner Archive generally is not content to rely on dated masters these days, because their core customers have come to expect a certain level of quality, and harvesting technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last 11 years.

  72. Thomas T

    How about because there's no blu ray market for the likes of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, Jane Powell, Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson (not to mention Deanna Durbin and Betty Grable)? At the risk of sounding like a broken record, some people live in a rose colored bubble when it comes to classic films and especially musicals. Hey, I'd love stuff like Nancy Goes To Rio, Lovely To Look At or Words And Music on blu ray too and I'd snap them up in a heartbeat but I have one foot in the real world and realistically, outside of the nostalgia crowd, nobody else cares. Now Judy Garland and Astaire & Rogers are something else and need to be on blu ray but That Midnight Kiss and Maytime? C'mon!

    I don't completely disagree with you about that, as I believe that the stuff that WAC released on DVD seem like the most unlikely candidates for blu, if only because there is a reason that most of those came out from WAC and not WHV. But it is not just the nostalgia crowd that enjoy these. You are arguing with one 31-year-old who prefers most of the musicals of this era, whether I have been able to see them before or not. And I am trying to make sure those are the releases from WAC that I support at FULL PRICE (instead of waiting for the 4 for $44 sales like I do with most of the others that I want). But you can't tell me that there is no blu market at all for EVERYTHING that was released prior to 1954, considering how few releases we have been getting the last couple years from Warner, when other labels like Kino continue to try and release stuff from that era (nevermind somebody like Classicflix who is releasing exclusively from the era that I want to support). I think, at this point, it would be nice if Warner could license out some more of these (especially to Classicflix, who would at least be covering the era I want represented most, not just in musicals).

  73. Will Krupp

    […]After Kahn was fired, Lucy was (reportedly) clamoring loudly that she wanted as much of the "New York show" as she could get (WITHOUT a trace of apparent irony) so Connell was hired, as I think she should have been from the start.

    That is ironic. Lucy knew that much about the show's intact success as is;
    but certainly drew the line when it came to Angela Lansbury.
    Say, wasn't there a story in which a major film actor or two had been offered "My Fair Lady" but declined, with the absolute insistence that the role must go rightfully to Rex Harrison? Maybe that was a Stanley Holloway story; with James Cagney declining.
    Anyway, it does seem that with Ms. Ball's career, life took on the imitation of art; as so many "I Love Lucy" episodes involved Ricky's constant attempts to keep his wife out of the night-club numbers.

  74. PMF

    Say, wasn't there a story in which a major film actor or two had been offered "My Fair Lady" but declined, with the absolute insistence that the role must go rightfully to Rex Harrison? Maybe that was a Stanley Holloway story; with James Cagney declining.

    It was reportedly Cary Grant, who is rumored to have said, "if you don't hire Rex Harrison I won't even SEE your movie!"

  75. IIRC, the one time WB cast the original Broadway female lead but replaced the male lead was Damn Yankees.

    PMF

    But, at the same time, its oh so very WAC.:D

    Well, let's be fair. How can you top The Swarm? 😉

  76. Will Krupp

    It was reportedly Cary Grant, who is rumored to have said, "if you don't hire Rex Harrison I won't even SEE your movie!"

    "I've Grown A Judy, Judy, Judy to Her Face"
    "The Rain in Charade"
    "Why Can't the Gunga?"
    "I'm An Awful Truth Man"

    Yah, Cary was right, it just simply wouldn't have worked.;)

  77. MatthewA

    All this Mame talk is making me want to read the original book at long last.

    I love the book and the follow-up, "Around the World with Auntie Mame" is fun, too. When Mame was released in 1974, I was eleven and I read the book. I didn't get a lot of it – it was just like Patrick in the film – I had to make a list of all the words I didn't know and look them up. I recall asking my Mom what "nymphomaniac" meant. To her credit, she calmly explained it in simple terms and didn't raise an eyebrow.

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