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LittleRickyII

Was "Mame" *Really* a Flop?

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LittleRickyII    308

That's all I've ever heard about this movie, that it was a box office flop.  I can accept that it was a flop with critics, and I understand full well why critics did not like it, but many years ago I saw a book in my university library that contained a list of 1974 movies ranked by box office numbers.  My memory was that, while Mame was not ranked anywhere near the top for the year, it was still far from the bottom.  Now I have found this website which confirms my memory.  It shows 117 movies released that year, and if you sort by box office earnings, it comes in at 30th place.  That puts Mame in the top 26% of movies that year in terms of box office numbers.  According to this site, it earned $18,200,000 (or $87,200,000 in today's dollars).  That sounds pretty impressive to me.  What's more, according to IMDB, Mame had a budget of $12 million.  $18.2 million in earnings on a film that cost $12 million means a 52% return!  Please sign me up for any opportunity to make 52% on my investment!  And look at some of the movies that year that did less box office than MameHarry and Tonto, for example, which won Art Carney an Oscar.  And The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, which NBC apparently thought was a big enough hit to turn it into a TV series a couple years later.  And It's Alive, which spawned a sequel.  There are a number of other movies further down the list below Mame that are familiar to me but which I've never heard referred to as bombs.  So what gives?  Why is Mame repeatedly called a box office bomb?

 

https://www.ultimatemovierankings.com/1974-movies/

Rank Movie Stars Box Office (Millions) Adjusted B.O. (Millions) Review %age Oscar Noms/Wins
1 Blazing Saddles (1974) Gene Wilder &  $118.1 $566.5 81 3/1
Mel Brooks  
2 The Towering Inferno (1974) Paul Newman &  $114.8 $550.9 69 8/3
AA Best Picture Nom Steve McQueen  
3 Young Frankenstein (1974) Gene Wilder &  $85.2 $408.8 88 2/1
Mel Brooks  
4 Earthquake (1974) Charlton Heston &  $78.6 $377.2 45 4/1
Ava Gardner  
5 Airport 1975 (1974) Myrna Loy &  $76.7 $367.8 43 0/0
Charlton Heston  
6 Murder on the Orient Express (1974) Ingrid Bergman &  $58.0 $278.0 78 6/1
Sean Connery  
7 Benji (1974) Peter Breck &  $50.9 $244.2 62 1/1
Deborah Walley  
8 Herbie Rides Again (1974) Ken Berry &  $50.0 $239.8 56 0/0
Helen Hayes  
9 The Godfather: Part II (1974) Al Pacino &  $47.5 $228.1 95 11/6
AA Best Picture Win Robert Duvall  
10 Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974) Peter Fonda &  $46.1 $220.9 70 0/0
Roddy McDowall  
11 The Longest Yard (1974) Burt Reynolds &  $43.0 $206.3 76 1/1
Geoffrey Lewis  
12 The Great Gatsby (1974) Robert Redford &  $43.0 $206.4 49 2/2
Bruce Dern  
13 Freebie and the Bean (1974) James Caan &  $40.9 $196.2 65 0/0
Alan Arkin  
14 Lenny (1974) Dustin Hoffman &  $35.2 $168.6 84 6/1
AA Best Picture Nom Valerie Perrine  
15 For Pete's Sake (1974) Barbra Streisand $32.3 $155.0 60 0/0
16 The Island At The Top Of The World (1974) David Hartman $30.3 $145.4 64 1/1
17 Chinatown (1974) Jack Nicholson &  $29.2 $140.1 94 11/1
AA Best Picture Nom Faye Dunaway  
18 The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) Roger Moore $28.5 $136.6 60 0/0
19 The Groove Tube (1974) Chevy Chase $27.9 $133.7 52 0/0
20 Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) Jeff Bridges &  $27.6 $132.3 78 1/1
Clint Eastwood  
21 Macon County Line (1974) Alan Vint $27.6 $132.3 68 0/0
22 That's Entertainment! (1974) MGM Film Clips $26.9 $129.0 73 0/0
23 Death Wish (1974) Charles Bronson $26.7 $127.9 68 0/0
24 The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge (1974) Charlton Heston &  $26.6 $127.4 74 1/1
Faye Dunaway  
25 Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) Ellen Burstyn &  $23.9 $114.8 84 3/1
Directed by Martin Scorsese  
26 The Front Page (1974) Jack Lemmon &  $23.8 $114.3 69 0/0
Walter Matthau  
27 Uptown Saturday Night (1974) Sidney Poitier &  $22.4 $107.6 67 0/0
Richard Pryor  
28 The Trial of Billy Jack (1974) Tom Laughlin $21.5 $103.2 47 0/0
29 A Woman Under the Influence (1974) Gena Rowlands &  $18.5 $88.9 86 2/1
Peter Falk  
30 Mame (1974) Lucille Ball $18.2 $87.2 54 0/0
31 Beyond the Door (1974) Juliet Mills $17.1 $81.9 45 0/0
32 Return of the Dragon (1974) Ramon Zamora $15.8 $75.6 68 0/0
33 S*P*Y*S (1974) Donald Sutherland &  $15.8 $75.7 38 0/0
Elliott Gould  
34 Harry and Tonto (1974) Art Carney $13.9 $66.9 80 2/1
35 The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams (1974) Dan Haggerty $12.7 $61.1 68 0/0
36 Bootleggers (1974) Paul Koslo &  $12.7 $61.1 59 0/0
Slim Pickens  
37 McQ (1974) John Wayne &  $12.4 $59.6 57 0/0
John Sturges  
38 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) Marilyn Burns $12.1 $58.1 85 0/0
39 California Split (1974) George Segal &  $12.1 $58.1 78 0/0
Elliott Gould  
40 The Bears and I (1974) Patrick Wayne $12.1 $58.1 58 0/0
41 Emmanuelle (1974) Sylvia Kristel $12.1 $58.1 50 0/0
42 Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) H.B. Halicki $12.1 $58.1 38 0/0
43 The Yakuza (1974) Robert Mitchum &  $10.9 $52.3 61 0/0
Brian Keith  
44 Mr. Majestyk (1974) Charles Bronson $10.6 $50.9 67 0/0
45 The Lords of Flatbush (1974) Sylvester Stallone $9.4 $45.0 65 0/0
46 Claudine (1974) Diahann Carroll &  $9.1 $43.6 74 1/1
James Earl Jones  
47 Buster and Billie (1974) Jan-Michael Vincent $9.1 $43.6 69 0/0
48 Three The Hard Way (1974) Jim Brown &  $9.1 $43.6 64 0/0
Fred Williamson  
49 The Odessa File (1974) Jon Voight $8.5 $40.7 70 0/0
50 The Tamarind Seed (1974) Julie Andrews &  $8.0 $38.4 70 0/0
Omar Sharif  
51 The Land That Time Forgot (1974) Doug McClure $7.6 $36.3 59 0/0
52 The Castaway Cowboy (1974) James Garner &  $7.6 $36.3 43 0/0
Vera Miles  
53 The Sugarland Express (1974) Goldie Hawn &  $7.5 $36.0 78 0/0
Directed by Steven Spielberg  
54 Foxy Brown (1974) Pam Grier $7.3 $34.9 64 0/0
55 Seven Alone (1974) Aldo Ray $7.2 $34.8 56 0/0
56 It's Alive (1974) John P. Ryan $7.1 $34.2 60 0/0
57 Truck Turner (1974) Isaac Hayes $6.8 $32.4 71 0/0
58 Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974) Skip Hinnant $6.2 $29.7 52 0/0
59 Conrack (1974) Jon Voight $6.1 $29.1 73 0/0
60 Abby (1974) William Marshall $6.1 $29.1 55 0/0
61 Zardoz (1974) Sean Connery $5.5 $26.5 50 0/0
62 The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974) Richard Dreyfuss $5.2 $24.7 71 1/1
63 Phantom of the Paradise (1974) Directed by Brian De Palma $4.8 $23.3 78 1/1
64 The Parallax View (1974) Warren Beatty $4.8 $23.3 77 0/0
65 Pardon My Blooper (1974) Kermit Schafer $4.5 $21.4 66 0/0
66 Big Bad Mama (1974) Angie Dickinson &  $4.5 $21.8 59 0/0
William Shatner  
67 Juggernaut (1974) Anthony Hopkins &  $4.5 $21.8 56 0/0
Richard Harris  
68 The Conversation (1974) Gene Hackman &  $4.4 $21.2 91 3/1
AA Best Picture Nom Harrison Ford 0
69 Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) Warren Oates &  $4.3 $20.5 78 0/0
Isela Vega  
70 The Teacher (1974) Jay North $4.2 $20.4 45 0/0
71 Law And Disorder (1974) Ernest Borgnine $3.9 $18.9 54 0/0
72 TNT Jackson (1974) Jeannie Bell $3.9 $18.9 45 0/0
73 Where the Lilies Bloom (1974) Julie Gholson $3.6 $17.4 71 0/0
74 Busting (1974) Elliott Gould &  $3.6 $17.4 64 0/0
Robert Blake  
75 The Black Godfather (1974) Rod Perry $3.6 $17.4 42 0/0
76 Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) Walter Matthau &  $3.3 $16.0 85 0/0
Robert Shaw  
77 Huckleberry Finn (1974) Paul Winfield $3.3 $16.0 56 0/0
78 Cockfighter (1974) Warren Oates &  $3.0 $14.5 79 0/0
Harry Dean Stanton  
79 The Gambler (1974) James Caan &  $3.0 $14.5 78 0/0
James Woods  
80 11 Harrowhouse (1974) James Mason &  $3.0 $14.5 69 0/0
Candice Bergen  
81 The Little Prince (1974) Gene Wilder $3.0 $14.5 67 2/1
82 Our Time (1974) Pamela Sue Martin $3.0 $14.5 66 0/0
83 Policewomen (1974) Sondra Currie $3.0 $14.5 63 0/0
84 Daisy Miller (1974) Cybill Shepherd $3.0 $14.5 60 0/0
85 Gold (1974) Roger Moore &  $3.0 $14.5 54 1/1
Ray Milland  
86 Golden Needles (1974) Joe Don Baker $3.0 $14.5 49 0/0
87 Bank Shot (1974) George C. Scott $3.0 $14.5 49 0/0
88 Lovin' Molly (1974) Susan Sarandon &  $3.0 $14.5 39 0/0
Anthony Perkins  
89 The Arena (1974) Pam Grier $2.9 $13.8 45 0/0
90 Zandy's Bride (1974) Gene Hackman &  $2.9 $13.8 40 0/0
Liv Ullmann  
91 The White Dawn (1974) Warren Oates $2.8 $13.4 73 0/0
92 Ginger In The Morning (1974) Sissy Spacek $2.7 $13.1 54 0/0
93 Black Christmas (1974) Olivia Hussey &  $2.6 $12.4 72 0/0
Margot Kidder  
94 The Spikes Gang (1974) Lee Marvin &  $2.6 $12.4 52 0/0
Ron Howard  
95 Thieves Like Us (1974) Keith Carradine &  $2.4 $11.6 74 0/0
Directed by Robert Altman  
96 The Terminal Man (1974) Jill Clayburgh &  $2.4 $11.6 58 0/0
George Segal  
97 The Girl From Petrovka (1974) Anthony Hopkins &  $2.4 $11.3 43 0/0
Goldie Hawn  
98 Klansman (1974) Lee Marvin &  $2.4 $11.6 39 0/0
Richard Burton  
99 Rhinoceros (1974) Gene Wilder $2.0 $9.4 59 0/0
100 The Savage Is Loose (1974) George C. Scott $2.0 $9.4 49 0/0
101 Phase IV (1974) Nigel Davenport $1.9 $9.2 70 0/0
102 The Midnight Man (1974) Burt Lancaster $1.8 $8.9 63 0/0
103 The Internecine Project (1974) James Coburn &  $1.8 $8.7 56 0/0
Lee Grant  
104 Conversation Piece (1974) Burt Lancaster $1.6 $7.5 75 0/0
105 Mama's Dirty Girls (1974) Gloria Grahame $1.6 $7.6 56 0/0
106 The Black Windmill (1974) Michael Caine $1.6 $7.6 45 0/0
107 Open Season (1974) William Holden &  $1.4 $6.6 61 0/0
Peter Fonda  
108 Mixed Company (1974) Basketball Movies &  $1.4 $6.6 44 0/0
Barbara Harris  
109 Soft Beds Hard Battles (1974) Peter Sellers $1.3 $6.0 47 0/0
110 Billy Two Hats (1974) Gregory Peck &  $1.2 $5.8 49 0/0
Jack Warden  
111 The Last 4 Days (1974) Henry Fonda $0.9 $4.4 48 0/0
112 Shanks (1974) Marcel Marceau $0.8 $3.7 55 1/1
113 Dark Star (1974) Directed by John Carpenter $0.5 $2.4 70 0/0
114 The Destructors/The Marseille Contract (1974) Anthony Quinn &  $0.5 $2.3 56 0/0
Michael Caine  
115 Seizure! (1974) Oliver Stone $0.2 $0.7 37 0/0
116 Celine & Julie Go Boating (1974) Juliet Berto $0.0 $0.2 78 0/0
117 The Second Coming of Suzanne (1974) Richard Dreyfuss $0.0 $0.1 29 0/0

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Luvsbway    1,966

Very interesting chart.

Also of note are 2 family members in movies that year. Lenny with Gary ranked higher than Mame, Billy Two Hats with Desi Jr. ranked far lower than Mame. 

 

 

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Neil    1,299

Love this chart!   Where did you get it from?  I'd like to look up other years.

Budget and box office numbers can be very misleading.  $18M is higher than I've ever heard.  When BO numbers are released, they're not always clear:  are they  1) the gross receipts received by the theaters?  2) the net of that that reaches the studio?  3) including pre-sold network TV fee? (which was probably considerable).  Or some other calculation.   The bottom line: what was the PROFIT?  When they tally gross receipts based on a calendar year, it doesn't take into account movies that had a run that spanned 2 calendar years.  (though Mame's take would have been all 1974).  I followed Variety's publish weekly grosses and they said Mame ended up with $6.5million or so.  I've heard the Mame budget as $6M, $8M, $10M and $12M.  Warners paid (I think) $3.5M for the rights to the Broadway musical, so that was a big chunk.   In a big coffee table book about Warner Brothers movies, "Mame" was the studio's 4th highest grossing film of the year, behind "Exorcist" "Blazing Saddles" and "Magnum Force".   And one more time: Lucy did NOT finance the movie and BUY the role, STEALING it from Angela!!  a rumor people seem to like to believe, akin to "Viv was a year younger than Lucy but was contractually bound to remain 20 pounds overweight". 

Any way you figure it, Mame's BO was a disappointment.  The rights were purchased at a time when the major studios were still hoping for one more "Sound of Music".   But "Mame" was really the last of those faithful Broadway-to-movie musicals, and the last by a long shot (with a few low-performing exceptions).   The sophisticated "Cabaret" changed critic's expectations and they were NOT in the mood to endorse the old-fashioned "Mame".    Had "Mame" been made even 5 years earlier, it may have joined the list of revered movie musicals.  For one thing, Lucy was in much better shape vocally in 1968 than she was in 1973 (year of production) and her age wouldn't have been such a HUGE factor.    

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Freddie2    806

Making back its budget and making the Top 30 of a year that has a lot of standouts most certainly takes it out of commercial flop territory. It's interesting to see that Mame made more money than influential heavyweights like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Conversation. Perhaps Mr. Leatherface got his inspiration from Mame's Santa mask (I'm kidding). 

On the topic of Mame as the last gasp of studios trying to get another Sound of Music, here's an interesting and thorough video essay on the topic: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8o7LzGqc3E&t=850s

Although Mame isn't mentioned, Lucy makes a "cameo" in the video.

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Will    55

I won't say it was a flop but it wasn't a hit like her earlier movies like Yours Mine and Ours, Easy to Wed, Long, Long Trailer.  I too feel it isn't mentioned enough but this would have been a hit in 1968.  This was one year after Tourghly Modern Millie which I think did alright.  Also Lucy's voice was much better then f.e. It's Nice To Have A Man About the House (Carnival Nights) and Thanks for the Memories (LS) .  I always thought it was odd how it got so deeper during Here's Lucy years. 

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LittleRickyII    308
18 hours ago, Neil said:

Love this chart!   Where did you get it from?  I'd like to look up other years.

Budget and box office numbers can be very misleading.  $18M is higher than I've ever heard.  When BO numbers are released, they're not always clear:  are they  1) the gross receipts received by the theaters?  2) the net of that that reaches the studio?  3) including pre-sold network TV fee? (which was probably considerable).  Or some other calculation.   The bottom line: what was the PROFIT?  When they tally gross receipts based on a calendar year, it doesn't take into account movies that had a run that spanned 2 calendar years.  (though Mame's take would have been all 1974).  I followed Variety's publish weekly grosses and they said Mame ended up with $6.5million or so.  I've heard the Mame budget as $6M, $8M, $10M and $12M.  Warners paid (I think) $3.5M for the rights to the Broadway musical, so that was a big chunk.   In a big coffee table book about Warner Brothers movies, "Mame" was the studio's 4th highest grossing film of the year, behind "Exorcist" "Blazing Saddles" and "Magnum Force".  

I put the link in my OP above.  

Good question about what those box office figures reflect.  I can't tell from the information provided, but I would have to assume that the box office numbers of all of the movies listed there were determined on the same basis.  However, it would certainly make a difference whether those numbers reflect earnings just during 1974, or whether they are for the entire period the respective movies were playing in theaters, which could have extended into 1975.  This is what is stated on the site: 

"Finding box office information for movies made before 1980 is not an easy task.   For somebody looking for box office information on 1974 it is very very frustrating.  Over the years, we have researched and collected information on over 36,000 movies.  So we figured we would show all the 1974 movies in our database.

To make this list a movie had to be made in 1974.  This page will looks at 115 1974 Movies.  The movies are listed in a massive table that lets you rank the movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information.    This only represents about 33% of the movies made in 1974….but should cover the top box office movies."

So while I don't know whether these are gross or net box office figures, assuming everything was done on an equal basis, that last sentence that these 115 movies only represent about 33% of the total for 1974 "but should cover the top box office movies" is significant.  That means that Mame ranked #30 of 115 movies, but rather #30 of around 345 movies, which puts it in the top 9%!

 
18 hours ago, Neil said:

And one more time: Lucy did NOT finance the movie and BUY the role, STEALING it from Angela!!  a rumor people seem to like to believe, akin to "Viv was a year younger than Lucy but was contractually bound to remain 20 pounds overweight".

So how did that rumor start?  I see people stating that repeatedly on the Internet as if it's fact.

 

18 hours ago, Neil said:

Any way you figure it, Mame's BO was a disappointment.  

ANY way you figure it?  If Warners was expecting it to be one of the top 10 movies for the year, but it just wound up in 30th place, then yes, it was a BO disappointment.  And if they needed for it to be in the top 10 to cover costs, it was a BO disappointment.  But relative to the BO of the vast majority of movies that year, it was a big success.

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LittleRickyII    308
On 12/18/2018 at 8:37 AM, Luvsbway said:

Very interesting chart.

Also of note are 2 family members in movies that year. Lenny with Gary ranked higher than Mame, Billy Two Hats with Desi Jr. ranked far lower than Mame. 

Really?  My all-time favorite actor was in Lenny?  I must check that out.

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LittleRickyII    308
17 hours ago, Freddie2 said:

On the topic of Mame as the last gasp of studios trying to get another Sound of Music, here's an interesting and thorough video essay on the topic: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8o7LzGqc3E&t=850s

Although Mame isn't mentioned, Lucy makes a "cameo" in the video.

As she states, this wasn't the death of the musical, but the death of a certain type of musical.  Musicals certainly didn't die after the 1960s.  Few movie musicals have ever been as big as Saturday Night Fever and Grease, the later of which is now considered a classic.

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Neil    1,299

More fun with numbers!    I clicked on the Lucille Ball link and came up with 2 Top 10s

 I left out movies that weren't really hers:  Ziegfeld, Thousands Cheer, Guide for Married Man, etc.   Even in her top 10 list, there are 2 where her role is subordinate (4 if you count Sorrowful and Fancy Pants).   Coming in last on the full list is "Miss Grant Takes Richmond" with a meager $20M (2018) gross.   Lucy's $85,000 pay was a 2018 $900,000.   As long as "Miss Grant"'s original budget was under $2million, it made money.  Not on this list: "Fuller Brush Girl"!  I don't know where they cut it off.   Not surprisingly, YMO held her highest ranking.  I'm surprised "Long Long Trailer" was not higher on the 1954 list.  It was after all "MGM's HIGHEST GROSSING COMEDY up to that time" (NOT adjusted for inflation).  The consistently maligned "Forever Darling" managed to be #33 and gross a 2018 $121M (a bit more than HALF "Trailer")  To put "Mame"'s gross in perspective, it is topped by "Her Husband's Affairs" and "Seven Days Leave"!!

Top Ten by order of standing of Box Office performances of all movies in a given year  (followed by their 'adjusted for inflation' gross)

#10 for 1968: Yours Mine and Ours (inflation adjusted gross)  $227M

11 Sorrowful Jones   $197

14 Easy to Wed  $279

19 Fancy Pants  $139

22 Long Long Trailer $223

22 Stage Door  $173

23 Dubarry  $220

35 Without Love  $198

27 Facts of Life  $119

#30 Mame  $87

TOP 10 ranked by inflation adjusted gross . Note in her #1 movie, she's THIRD billed.

$279,000,000  Easy to Wed

$227 Yours Mine and Ours

$223 Long Trailer

$220 Dubarry

$198 Without Love

$197 Sorrowful Jones

$173 Stage Door  (yes, she's not the star but contributes a lot to the appeal of the movie)

$139 Fancy Pants

$121 Forever Darling

 

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Neil    1,299
26 minutes ago, LittleRickyII said:

Really?  My all-time favorite actor was in Lenny?  I must check that out.

Set aside 5 minutes and you can view the entire Gary Morton filmography catalogue. However, he's great in both movies!

20 minutes ago, LittleRickyII said:

As she states, this wasn't the death of the musical, but the death of a certain type of musical.  Musicals certainly didn't die after the 1960s.  Few movie musicals have ever been as big as Saturday Night Fever and Grease, the later of which is now considered a classic.

I don't consider "Saturday Night" a musical.  Aren't all the BeeGee songs sung off-camera?  For that matter, the movie version of "Cabaret" is not a musical in the strictest sense.  All the numbers are performed at the club.  Characters do not break out in song: as opposed to the Broadway version.  Jack Gilbert and Lotta Lenya's parts were cut from the movie eliminating Lotta's great "So What?" solo, Jack's "Meeskite" and their beautiful duet "Married".    Also cut: such standard musical fare as "Perfectly Marvelous".  Added to the movie was Kander & Ebb's trunk "Maybe This Time" originally written by them for Kaye Ballard's act but now forever linked to Liza, much to Kaye's chagrin. 

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Freddie2    806
1 hour ago, Neil said:

Set aside 5 minutes and you can view the entire Gary Morton filmography catalogue. However, he's great in both movies!

I don't consider "Saturday Night" a musical.  Aren't all the BeeGee songs sung off-camera?  For that matter, the movie version of "Cabaret" is not a musical in the strictest sense.  All the numbers are performed at the club.  Characters do not break out in song: as opposed to the Broadway version.  Jack Gilbert and Lotta Lenya's parts were cut from the movie eliminating Lotta's great "So What?" solo, Jack's "Meeskite" and their beautiful duet "Married".    Also cut: such standard musical fare as "Perfectly Marvelous".  Added to the movie was Kander & Ebb's trunk "Maybe This Time" originally written by them for Kaye Ballard's act but now forever linked to Liza, much to Kaye's chagrin. 

I love the film version of Cabaret, but I really need to familiarize myself with its original incarnation, which seems to be very different but still great. I didn't know Lotte Lenya was in it, although she makes perfect sense for a show set in Weimar Germany. I still consider Cabaret to be a musical. On the other hand, I don't think of something like Duck Soup as a musical- more like a movie with musical numbers. 

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Neil    1,299
On 12/19/2018 at 9:20 AM, LittleRickyII said:

RE:  (Lucy did NOT finance the movie and BUY the role, STEALING it from Angela!!)

So how did that rumor start?  I see people stating that repeatedly on the Internet as if it's fact.

Oh, it's just one of things people WANT to believe.  

And yes Cabaret is definitely a musical even if all the songs were part of the Club act.  Non-Sally/Liza songs were dropped  except for the Master Race anthem "Tomorrow Belongs to Me".   Cabaret was completely deconstructed and put back together for the screen by Bob Fosse, taking a big chance that paid off.  

Another musical that changed greatly from stage to screen was "The Unsinkable Molly Brown".  At least in the song department.  The screen version retained only FOUR songs from the original Broadway version, but added a big production number "He's My Friend" (otherwise the 2nd half of the movie would be a virtual non-musical).  .  Our leading lady, Debbie Reynolds on screen, sang only TWO songs ("Ain't Down" and "Belly Up"), both at the beginning of the movie as opposed to the 8 songs Tammy Grimes had--and Debbie was more of a singer than Tammy.    I think their song decision was a good one because the "Molly" score was quite a step down from Meredith Willson's "Music Man".   "Molly Brown" was one of the projects Lucy considered before settling on "Wildcat" (which IMO has a MUCH better score). Molly and Wildcat are similar characters.    'Molly', at over 500 performances was a hit, a figure that most theater historians agree would have been achieved by Wildcat had Lucy stuck with it.   Side note trivia: one thing both Molly Browns had in common (Debbie and Tammy): they both starred in flop sitcoms in the 60s trying to be television's next LUCY!

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Neil    1,299

The majority of stage-to-screen musicals of the 60s were pretty faithful to the original productions (can't vouch for the ones I haven't seen on screen or stage).  "Mame" may have been the VERY last of those.   At least for the decade.  (don't know for sure).  With the exception of "A Little Night Music" which only got a scant release in 1977.  "Annie" is pretty faithful but that was 1980.  Annie: oddest choice for director of musical movie EVER:  75 year old John Huston.  When Mame's crew was being assembled one of the directors approached was FRANCIS FORD COPOLLA (pre-Godfather, of course).  Though maybe in his version, Sally Cato would have left the severed head of "Lightning Rod"* in Mame's bed the morning after SC stomped off mid-Mame song. 

*My memory of the name of "the delicious piece of horseflesh" Sally secured for Mame

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