Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Life's a Banquet . . .
. . . and most poor suckers are starving to death. --- Mame Dennis
The 1958 film Auntie Mame, based on a memoir by Patrick Dennis, is about his life with Mame Dennis, his eccentric aunt on Beekman Place in New York City. The screenplay, written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee (who had written Inherit the Wind about the Scopes trial) is wickedly funny, requiring rapt attention in order to catch the wit and nuance of the dialogue.
The film also showcases one of the best apartments in cinematic history. Ok I may be overstating it, but as Auntie Mame goes through her different incantations, her decor is completely transformed from an Asian palace, to a cool blue cubist dream, to an English library, and ultimately to mid-century modern. The symiotic relationship between the flamboyant main character and her surroundings adds a new dimension to an already fascinating character sketch. It's absolutely worth the rent.