But Darling, I’m Your Auntie Mame!

Who rocks sequins during the day, has a room devoted to Marie Antoinette, and drinks gin like water without losing a single social grace (besides my friend Rachael)? Why, Auntie Mame, that’s who!

In my last post I talked about the magic of “Technicolor”. Auntie Mame is certainly a movie made more glorious by the wonders of color. I’m trying to remember when I first fell in love with this movie. Was it when I realized it was pro queer? Was it when my mother quoted, “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death”? No, it was the moment that little Patrick Dennis walked through the door of 3 Beekman Street, and beheld with awe and wonder his fabulous Auntie Mame for the first time. I do believe that we fell for her at exactly the same moment.

Patrick is hesitant to tell his aunt the nasty things his father said about her.

This fabulous film is set before and during the great depression. The movie opens to an amazing party. The bootleg gin is flowing and all of the degenerates of the time (philosophers, musicians, and artists)  have congregated to celebrate debauchery. By the way, now is a great time to point out that “Dr. Debauchery” is a great DJ name, and has not been taken to my knowledge. I’ll google it. Okay, there is a Dr. Debauchery on myspace, but he seems like an emo kid that needs a group hug.

This movie is riddled with gay folk, although unannounced. Lesbians are posing and frowning in even the opening scenes. Frankly, even some of the men Mame is interested in raise an eyebrow from me.

Stylish lesbians look on as Mame introduces Patrick to his new educator. Mr. Page runs a nudist school for children.

Auntie Mame is rich and glamorous, but not above anyone. She adores the wealthy, and I mean those wealthy in ideas, humor, intelligence, grace or wisdom. There is an awesome scene where Mr. Babcock (yes, that’s his name) tells Mame that Patrick should go to a school that is restricted and “exclusive”. Mame then asks, “Restricted to what and exclusive to whom?”

Mame doesn’t want to shield Patrick from living life. In him, she sees a bright young mind ready to consume the challenges that await. Her closest friends, including a world famous publisher, are concerned that Patrick is just her latest project, and that she’ll tire of him when the novelty wears off.

Mame as "Lady Iris" interrupts your regularly scheduled boring play.

Mame, like everyone else is thrown into relative poverty during the depression. She then attempts to work her way into the money to seize Patrick back from the hideous clutches of Mr. Babcock. She fails at acting, operating, and just about everything… except life. Does she pull through? Is being generous, loving, and wearing your best classic Chanel enough to make it through life’s trials?

There is a fab fab fabulous scene were Mame attempts to return to the stage with her best friend Vera Charles. Although just being a chorus girl before, Mame is set to bring something special to the part of Lady Iris, who really only has a couple of scripted lines. Unfortunately, she also chooses to wear jingley bracelets, which are so noisy that the audience bursts into laughter.

“Take those damn cowbells off!” spoken by Vera, is one of the funniest most frustrated lines in the film.

Mame living out my fantasy, someone to wear top hats with... oh to be dapper...

In a last ditch effort, Auntie Mame gets a job at the then celebrated Macy’s Department Store in her home town of New York City. Not only is she THE most glamorous thing in the entire store, but she attracts the only single wealthy southern gentleman in the store.

Live, Live, Live!

One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Mame goes down to the southern plantation to visit Beau’s family. She participate’s in an old fashioned fox hunt, and ends up saving the fox from an ugly demise. If you look, you’ll see it’s actually a stuffed fox she’s whipping around at the end, but the live little guy during the real shots is super cute.

I’m not going to dive everything away, but darling, hang on for a fantastic finish. As little Patrick gets older, he ends up hanging on less to the beaded fringe of Auntie Mame’s evening wear, as she is too busy touring the world. Instead, he clings to the nefarious Mr. Babcock, who begins to introduce him to all the blonde heiresses on the Eastern Seaboard. Mame must defend his fragile open mind. It is interesting here how they divide the line between rich and nouveau riche.

Mame tries to thwart her soon-to-be in laws with heights defying Danish furniture. Thank you Yul Oolu.

New money isn’t anything odd these days, much of the fortune 500 are new money. Years ago, this seemed to matter more. Mame, although extravagant, understands that you can’t buy respect with money. Respect is something you give to everyone. You’re generous with it. Then, and only then, will you receive it in return. Her companions didn’t need to be rich, white, or straight. In fact, she preferred the opposite. Even when Mame went broke, she positively reeked with elegance. Love and kindness, darlings… love and kindness.

Here’s why you should put down that cupcake and rent this movie. It’s full of amazing fashion, has someone of some gender and personality  you’ll crush on, and ultimately is about the evil of bigotry. She is a superhero of stylish proportions, and is absolutely lavish with sarcasm. If you’re into film history at all, this one is a must. The book it’s based on was written by a man who renamed himself Patrick Dennis. He made over a cool million from the book, but spent it all, ultimately becoming a butler to none other than Ray Kroc, the founder of the corporation we know as McDonalds. Just like the main characters, he lived with an acute sense of fantasy. His identity was shrouded inside his greatest work of fiction, Auntie Mame.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the original trailer for “Auntie Mame”. So, make yourself a sidecar, and sit back and enjoy.

As usual, comment here if you like, or mail me at

Really, I just love input… really.

1 comment to But Darling, I’m Your Auntie Mame!

  • Rachael

    Oh Lyska, now I REALLY need to watch this movie. She’s seems a bit more adventerous than Edina Monsoon. Also, I drink bourbon all day and I have a room devoted to the Virgin of Guadalupe but close enough.