Before Rosalind Russell hit the big screen in the 1958 film “Auntie Mame,” she took to the stage in 1956 to perform the title character in the Broadway play with the same name.
Tomorrow locals will have the opportunity to see Russel in her Golden Globe winning and Academy Award nominated performance when the State Theatre in Uniontown shows the film as part of their classic film series.
The film review on the Rotten Tomatoes website said Auntie Mame actually began as a novel written by Patrick Dennis in 1955 before it was adapted into the Broadway play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. In this film version, Russell recreates her stage role as Mame Dennis, the flamboyant, devil-may-care aunt of young, impressionable Patrick Dennis (Jan Handzlik, “Auntie Mame” and “The Twilight Zone”).
Left in Mame’s care when his millionaire father drops dead, young Patrick is quickly indoctrinated into his aunt’s philosophy that “life is a banquet--and some poor suckers are starving to death.” Social-climbing executor Dwight Babcock (Fred Clark, “Sunset Boulevard” and “Flamingo Road”) does his best to raise Patrick as a stuffy American aristocrat, but Mame battles Babcock to allow the boy to be as free-spirited as she is.
According to IMDb trivia, the character of Auntie Mame was based on Patrick Dennis’s real-life aunt, Marian Tanner. A good-natured eccentric, who lived to be nearly one hundred years old, Ms. Tanner’s advice to those seeking a more interesting, adventurous life was to never be afraid to try a new experience and to keep an open mind about everything and everybody.
Also under trivia, IMDb said Rosalind Russell broke her ankle in the first take of the scene where she comes flying down the stairs in the gown with the capri pants and shooting had to be delayed until she recovered.
Throughout her career, Russell stared alongside big names such as Cary Grant, Joan Crawford and Natalie Wood in roles in films like “Gypsy,” “The Women” and “His Girl Friday.” She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress four times and won five Golden Globes throughout her career.
Both the audience score and the Tomatometer (based on critics’ scores) are at 93 percent for this film on Rotten Tomatoes.
Gabriel Shanks with “Mixed Reviews” said on the movie review website, “possibly the greatest comedy of all time, with a performance by Rosalind Russell that can only be described as ‘bravura.’”
Critic Steve Crum with the “Kansas City Kansan” added that the film is “THE Rosalind Russell movie, and still fabulously funny.”
There will be a 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. showing on Sept. 6. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students. Upcoming films to be shown at the State Theatre as part of the Classic Film Series include: “Suspicion” (Oct. 4), “Schindler’s List” (Nov. 8), “White Christmas” (Dec. 20), “Peyton Place” (Jan. 17), “Groundhog Day” (Feb. 7), “The Pride of the Yankees” (March 13), “Jesus Christ Superstar” (March 24), “Laura” (May 15), “Splendor in the Grass” (June 5), “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (July 31) and “American Graffiti” (Aug. 21).