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yendor1152

Lucy and Mame? Oil and water!

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Ok, I'm gonna open myself up for daggers here, but I've just never thought Lucy was a good choice for Mame. Aside from the very sad singing, she struck me as incredibly stiff and unnatural (or should I say, uncomfortable) in certain sequences--especially the opening song. There's a scene where she's being carted across the gargantuan living room by a dancer, and it's almost as if he's holding a mannequin. Lucy has a fake-looking smile plastered on her face, and for all intents, she looks inanimate. There doesn't seem to be any verve or life to her performance at all. The "Need a Little Christmas" number, which should've been full of joy, was almost scary--especially when Lucy puts on that horrible Santa Claus mask and begins leading an imaginery parade. And watch her take off the mask--it's done so carefully, as if she was afraid to snap a rubber band holding her wrinkles back. And whoever decided to hire Jane what's her name to play Gooch (yes, I know, she's in the Broadway show) in the film version oughtta have their head examined. She' was dull as dishwater and couldn't sing worth crap. She's not even the slightest bit funny. Peggy Cass was absolutely hilarious as Gooch in the Roz version.

 

And speaking of the Russell Mame, Roz had that energetic, theatrical and rapid-fire delivery that was just about perfect for Mame. She was over the top. Maybe she was really just playing Rosalind Russell, who knows? But whatever the case, she established the Mame character for all others to follow. Angela Landsbury had that quality, too, plus she's an accomplished actress and much younger that Lucy when she did the musical Mame. She was able to establish her own take on Mame, since now songs had been added.

 

When Lucy was signed for Mame, she had some very big shoes to fill. For one, she'd never been a singer--as we all know from I Love Lucy--so, there was that handicap. The public who knew Lucy back in the time of Mame could obviously remember that her lack of singing ability was actually a reason for laughter. But when Mame was released, her singing was "serious" and just plain awful, no way to work around it. Her excuses that Mame lived the high life and smoke and drank, which affected her voice, were pretty feeble, I think. As for her dancing, well, what can be said? Everything looks totally choreographed and robotic. There's absolutely no spontaniety to any of it. In the big Mame number, she starts prancing down the path like a horse, again with that horrible smile plastered on her face, and it almost become surreal. Like a Twilight Zone version of the Broadway play. And why can't she say the name, "Patrick?" She routinely calls him "Patwick."

 

Many people have said Lucy would've made a better Mame ten years earlier, but I disagree. Her entire accepted persona was the anti-thesis of the Mame character. Where Mame was arch, cutting, sophisticated and worldly, Lucy was always somewhat naive, innocent, wide-eyed and childlike. Casting her was like putting a round peg in a square hole. It just didn't work. No wonder the critics reacted so negatively. The film needs to be remade with a singing actress who can belt out the tunes and bring the right amount of theatricality to the role. Someone here mentioned Cher. She'd be all wrong, from looks right down to singing style. Even her acting isn't theatrical enough. Only Bette Midler could do justice to the part, since her entire career has been based on being "The Divine Miss M," an over the top diva. That's exactly what Mame is all about!

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Ok, you're back on my shit list. Just a few points, Lucy Ricardo sang off key for humor, everybody but you knows that. And not A L L critics disliked the film or her performance. They needed a B I G name for the lead and Lucy asked for the role as she missed out on Dolly which had been promised to Streisand. She gave it her all B U T got a lousy director as the breaking of her leg caused the greatest director, George Cukor to leave as he could not wait for her to get better. Dancing after a broken leg and you don't like it. Singing when she had limited capabilities there, i thought she did pretty well and like she said herself, Jerry Herman's numbers can almost be spoken they are so haunting. The thing the critics lambasted was her faded looks, some comparing her to a female impersonator, but nobody found her to look like a mannequin. Putting Lucy in a musical when the public wanted her in comedies is a culprit yes. But if Mame wasn't any good at all or Lucy in it, it would have disapeared like Julie Andrews' STAR. Instead it has had a resurgeance as most people look at it as Lucy Ball giving a great performance in a musical with absolutely sensational songs, same as Hello Dolly, another gigantic musical that bombed but is still looked at today as an example of what Hollywood can do. However, Streisand was miscast in that one, she does the songs well but is much too young for the role, the exact opposite of what's been said about Lucy being too old. I'll go to my grave defending Lucy's MAME, if only she had not broken her leg and lost her woman's director, BUT, i still like it like it is, she never looked better on screen fashion wise, she never performed more beautiful songs and she still had the energy to make it all work in spite of the pitfalls. I guess i'm prejudiced being a humongous fan of hers but i find the criticism almost four decades later quite a bit daunting.

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Of course I know that Lucy Ricardo sang off key for comedic effect, but if that's the public's only perception of Lucille Ball's singing ability, then it would've been to her benefit to really sing beautifully in Mame--to show that all of it was a put on earlier. But guess what, she didn't. She sounded horrible, with those very audible intakes of breath (too much smoking), and off-key many times. Even in Wildcat, the singing was beyond her, but she hadn't yet ruined her voice with cartons of cigs, not completely, anyway. And if you think her performance as Mame Dennis has life and verve, I gotta wonder if you're not just dazzled by the fact that Lucy could still move. She barely does that, if you watch carefully. As for Hello, Dolly, what's that have to do with Mame? Nothing. And I doubt George Cukor could've helped Lucy, at that late stage. She was just miscast, period.

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Ok, I'm gonna open myself up for daggers here, but I've just never thought Lucy was a good choice for Mame. Aside from the very sad singing, she struck me as incredibly stiff and unnatural (or should I say, uncomfortable) in certain sequences--especially the opening song. There's a scene where she's being carted across the gargantuan living room by a dancer, and it's almost as if he's holding a mannequin. Lucy has a fake-looking smile plastered on her face, and for all intents, she looks inanimate. There doesn't seem to be any verve or life to her performance at all. The "Need a Little Christmas" number, which should've been full of joy, was almost scary--especially when Lucy puts on that horrible Santa Claus mask and begins leading an imaginery parade. And watch her take off the mask--it's done so carefully, as if she was afraid to snap a rubber band holding her wrinkles back. And whoever decided to hire Jane what's her name to play Gooch (yes, I know, she's in the Broadway show) in the film version oughtta have their head examined. She' was dull as dishwater and couldn't sing worth crap. She's not even the slightest bit funny. Peggy Cass was absolutely hilarious as Gooch in the Roz version.

 

And speaking of the Russell Mame, Roz had that energetic, theatrical and rapid-fire delivery that was just about perfect for Mame. She was over the top. Maybe she was really just playing Rosalind Russell, who knows? But whatever the case, she established the Mame character for all others to follow. Angela Landsbury had that quality, too, plus she's an accomplished actress and much younger that Lucy when she did the musical Mame. She was able to establish her own take on Mame, since now songs had been added.

 

When Lucy was signed for Mame, she had some very big shoes to fill. For one, she'd never been a singer--as we all know from I Love Lucy--so, there was that handicap. The public who knew Lucy back in the time of Mame could obviously remember that her lack of singing ability was actually a reason for laughter. But when Mame was released, her singing was "serious" and just plain awful, no way to work around it. Her excuses that Mame lived the high life and smoke and drank, which affected her voice, were pretty feeble, I think. As for her dancing, well, what can be said? Everything looks totally choreographed and robotic. There's absolutely no spontaniety to any of it. In the big Mame number, she starts prancing down the path like a horse, again with that horrible smile plastered on her face, and it almost become surreal. Like a Twilight Zone version of the Broadway play. And why can't she say the name, "Patrick?" She routinely calls him "Patwick."

 

Many people have said Lucy would've made a better Mame ten years earlier, but I disagree. Her entire accepted persona was the anti-thesis of the Mame character. Where Mame was arch, cutting, sophisticated and worldly, Lucy was always somewhat naive, innocent, wide-eyed and childlike. Casting her was like putting a round peg in a square hole. It just didn't work. No wonder the critics reacted so negatively. The film needs to be remade with a singing actress who can belt out the tunes and bring the right amount of theatricality to the role. Someone here mentioned Cher. She'd be all wrong, from looks right down to singing style. Even her acting isn't theatrical enough. Only Bette Midler could do justice to the part, since her entire career has been based on being "The Divine Miss M," an over the top diva. That's exactly what Mame is all about!

 

HALLELUJAH, I'M NOT ALONE!!!!!!!!

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Of course I know that Lucy Ricardo sang off key for comedic effect, but if that's the public's only perception of Lucille Ball's singing ability, then it would've been to her benefit to really sing beautifully in Mame--to show that all of it was a put on earlier. But guess what, she didn't. She sounded horrible, with those very audible intakes of breath (too much smoking), and off-key many times. Even in Wildcat, the singing was beyond her, but she hadn't yet ruined her voice with cartons of cigs, not completely, anyway. And if you think her performance as Mame Dennis has life and verve, I gotta wonder if you're not just dazzled by the fact that Lucy could still move. She barely does that, if you watch carefully. As for Hello, Dolly, what's that have to do with Mame? Nothing. And I doubt George Cukor could've helped Lucy, at that late stage. She was just miscast, period.

 

Nor was she aided by the abysmal direction and lazy editing. Shots seldom match up, there are some awkward cuts, and a very obvious portion of "Bosom Buddies" has been hacked right out. Not to mention, listening to the soundtrack, you can hear where different takes were spliced together to get an ideal performance. Everyone in the film had good intentions but it just didn't work. Even Bea Arthur, who many cited as the best thing about the movie, seems to resent the fact that she's there. I get a sense that she's just going through the motions, and even Bea felt that Lucy was too serious a performer and didn't have enough sense of fun to fully savor the role. Lucy was great at nearly everything else, but this movie is an unfortunate blot on an otherwise stellar resume.

 

Finally, a thread to vent this stuff!

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Ok, I'm gonna open myself up for daggers here, but I've just never thought Lucy was a good choice for Mame. Aside from the very sad singing, she struck me as incredibly stiff and unnatural (or should I say, uncomfortable) in certain sequences--especially the opening song. There's a scene where she's being carted across the gargantuan living room by a dancer, and it's almost as if he's holding a mannequin. Lucy has a fake-looking smile plastered on her face, and for all intents, she looks inanimate. There doesn't seem to be any verve or life to her performance at all. The "Need a Little Christmas" number, which should've been full of joy, was almost scary--especially when Lucy puts on that horrible Santa Claus mask and begins leading an imaginery parade. And watch her take off the mask--it's done so carefully, as if she was afraid to snap a rubber band holding her wrinkles back. And whoever decided to hire Jane what's her name to play Gooch (yes, I know, she's in the Broadway show) in the film version oughtta have their head examined. She' was dull as dishwater and couldn't sing worth crap. She's not even the slightest bit funny. Peggy Cass was absolutely hilarious as Gooch in the Roz version.

 

And speaking of the Russell Mame, Roz had that energetic, theatrical and rapid-fire delivery that was just about perfect for Mame. She was over the top. Maybe she was really just playing Rosalind Russell, who knows? But whatever the case, she established the Mame character for all others to follow. Angela Landsbury had that quality, too, plus she's an accomplished actress and much younger that Lucy when she did the musical Mame. She was able to establish her own take on Mame, since now songs had been added.

 

When Lucy was signed for Mame, she had some very big shoes to fill. For one, she'd never been a singer--as we all know from I Love Lucy--so, there was that handicap. The public who knew Lucy back in the time of Mame could obviously remember that her lack of singing ability was actually a reason for laughter. But when Mame was released, her singing was "serious" and just plain awful, no way to work around it. Her excuses that Mame lived the high life and smoke and drank, which affected her voice, were pretty feeble, I think. As for her dancing, well, what can be said? Everything looks totally choreographed and robotic. There's absolutely no spontaniety to any of it. In the big Mame number, she starts prancing down the path like a horse, again with that horrible smile plastered on her face, and it almost become surreal. Like a Twilight Zone version of the Broadway play. And why can't she say the name, "Patrick?" She routinely calls him "Patwick."

 

Many people have said Lucy would've made a better Mame ten years earlier, but I disagree. Her entire accepted persona was the anti-thesis of the Mame character. Where Mame was arch, cutting, sophisticated and worldly, Lucy was always somewhat naive, innocent, wide-eyed and childlike. Casting her was like putting a round peg in a square hole. It just didn't work. No wonder the critics reacted so negatively. The film needs to be remade with a singing actress who can belt out the tunes and bring the right amount of theatricality to the role. Someone here mentioned Cher. She'd be all wrong, from looks right down to singing style. Even her acting isn't theatrical enough. Only Bette Midler could do justice to the part, since her entire career has been based on being "The Divine Miss M," an over the top diva. That's exactly what Mame is all about!

 

Ridiculous. Talk to the hand.

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Neil (DAGGERS) ---->. yendor.....and a few left over for -----> LotusBud

 

Although you make a few valid points:-

AGREE:

1. the stiff smile as she's carted from one room to another in It's Today

2. Jane Connell doesn't deliver as Gooch.

3. Lucy is awkward in certain scenes

4. The Santa Claus mask was a bad idea and she DOES take it off quite carefully

5. Lucy's singing...well, she's no treat to Julie Andrews...or Liza Kirk....or even Elaine Stritch!

 

Although I feel #1 and #3 could have been eliminated with a director telling her to do it differently, the director picking up the PACE and the film editor doing same. Worst edited scene (and there are many): The Upsons at Mame's party (SOO much wrong with that scene that you cannot blame on Lucy: from the watered-down (from Auntie Mame) script to the awkward staging and again the PACE).

#2 is not entirely Connell's fault....and whatyamean she can't sing? Even if you don't like her style, she CAN sing.

#4 I don't like the mask either. It was unnecessary but it was what she was asked to do (and yes I noticed she takes it off carefully--but no big deal to me)

#5 Yes, Lucy isn't a "singer", but Mame is perhaps her worst attempt at 'serious' singing...and why is that? I think they were so concentrating on keeping her on key it took the spontaneity out of it---the vocal editing tricks didn't help either. If you hear her singing around this time, but pre-broken leg, it's PASSABLE ("Ukelele Talk" "Bank Robbing Medley"). The after-effects of the broken leg seemed to deepen and gruff-up her voice overnight. Perhaps the pain meds? Some of her post Mame singing is also better than Mame ("Makin' Whoopee" "Bouncing Back"). There are many methods at the vocal arranger and orchestrator to beef up her voice...and yes I think they should have hired a ghost vocalist for some of the notes. A true pro could blend these in and it would be completely unnoticeable. Another singer doing it ALL would not have been a good idea, only because of the potential of critic backlash. Orchestrations and back up singers ("the entire cast joins in") are perfectly legit tricks that any arranger worth his/her salt would have done. She sounds her worst in "Its' Today", which is unfortunately her opening number that sets the tone. I think most of the bad singing-complaints come from her singing of THIS song. I think she sounds FAIRLY good in the rest of the songs....except I have a big problem with the toneless way she sings "Boy" in "Where's that boy with a bugle". As far as the rest of "If He Walked....", I've got no problem with it. I like the way it's staged and the orchestrations hide the fact that Lucy cannot sustain notes. (However I must add, I think the orchestrations throughout are not terrible, but horribly recorded. The fidelity stinks). I think she acquits herself quite well when in the middle of the song the orchestra stops and she sings something a capella (can't remember the phrase). To sum up: Lucy's lack of singing prowess did not need to be a problem for "Mame".

 

DISAGREE:

1. I want to line people who critize Lucy's dancing in groups of 3 abreast (arranging them by similar height) and give each group a 3-Stooges slap, and then say "next".

Lucy is as much of a dancer as Angela or any other Broadway Mame except for Ann Miller, I guess. (and you talk about frozen smiles??!!)

 

2. I have absolutely no problem with her smiling reactions to her "Mame" number adulation. There are a couple of times when it looks a bit frozen. But you should have seen how frozen my smile was the last time I was surrounded by adoring steeple-jumpers. Watch her towards the end of Mame when she's walking down the aisle of people squating as she goes by, and varying her reactions. It's PERFECT....PERFECT (as Kaye Buell would say)

 

3. I disagree with you disagreeing about how much better it would have been earlier. You say 10 years but I don't think you have to go back that far. I cite her performance in "Critics Choice" AND her regal-ness as she descends the stairs in "the Steve Lawrence Show". She was type-cast as Lucy, but she's an actress and a good one; much more dramatic range than she's given credit for. Her scenes with the Upsons are good examples. The hand gesture she uses to guide the Upsons into the living room is oscar-worthy. ( well maybe 'zaggerating' a little)

 

4. BETTE MIDLER?? I love Bette in certain things, but as Mame??? She's too baudy. It would be like casting Iris Adrian (and Jody Gilbert as "Vera"--with stronger men to catch her as she passes out backwards downt he stairs). Again I love Bette when she's Bette-ing around but not so much when she strays. I am one of those who thinks her Rose in Gypsy was disappointing. Way too scenery-chewing.

 

And when does Lucy misprounce Patrick like Patwick? My God, show you a nit, you'll pick it!

 

(and yendor, I'm not familiar with you so don't take my comments personally...All in fun and I love a good debate...)

 

 

Ok, I'm gonna open myself up for daggers here, but I've just never thought Lucy was a good choice for Mame. Aside from the very sad singing, she struck me as incredibly stiff and unnatural (or should I say, uncomfortable) in certain sequences--especially the opening song. There's a scene where she's being carted across the gargantuan living room by a dancer, and it's almost as if he's holding a mannequin. Lucy has a fake-looking smile plastered on her face, and for all intents, she looks inanimate. There doesn't seem to be any verve or life to her performance at all. The "Need a Little Christmas" number, which should've been full of joy, was almost scary--especially when Lucy puts on that horrible Santa Claus mask and begins leading an imaginery parade. And watch her take off the mask--it's done so carefully, as if she was afraid to snap a rubber band holding her wrinkles back. And whoever decided to hire Jane what's her name to play Gooch (yes, I know, she's in the Broadway show) in the film version oughtta have their head examined. She' was dull as dishwater and couldn't sing worth crap. She's not even the slightest bit funny. Peggy Cass was absolutely hilarious as Gooch in the Roz version.

 

And speaking of the Russell Mame, Roz had that energetic, theatrical and rapid-fire delivery that was just about perfect for Mame. She was over the top. Maybe she was really just playing Rosalind Russell, who knows? But whatever the case, she established the Mame character for all others to follow. Angela Landsbury had that quality, too, plus she's an accomplished actress and much younger that Lucy when she did the musical Mame. She was able to establish her own take on Mame, since now songs had been added.

 

When Lucy was signed for Mame, she had some very big shoes to fill. For one, she'd never been a singer--as we all know from I Love Lucy--so, there was that handicap. The public who knew Lucy back in the time of Mame could obviously remember that her lack of singing ability was actually a reason for laughter. But when Mame was released, her singing was "serious" and just plain awful, no way to work around it. Her excuses that Mame lived the high life and smoke and drank, which affected her voice, were pretty feeble, I think. As for her dancing, well, what can be said? Everything looks totally choreographed and robotic. There's absolutely no spontaniety to any of it. In the big Mame number, she starts prancing down the path like a horse, again with that horrible smile plastered on her face, and it almost become surreal. Like a Twilight Zone version of the Broadway play. And why can't she say the name, "Patrick?" She routinely calls him "Patwick."

 

Many people have said Lucy would've made a better Mame ten years earlier, but I disagree. Her entire accepted persona was the anti-thesis of the Mame character. Where Mame was arch, cutting, sophisticated and worldly, Lucy was always somewhat naive, innocent, wide-eyed and childlike. Casting her was like putting a round peg in a square hole. It just didn't work. No wonder the critics reacted so negatively. The film needs to be remade with a singing actress who can belt out the tunes and bring the right amount of theatricality to the role. Someone here mentioned Cher. She'd be all wrong, from looks right down to singing style. Even her acting isn't theatrical enough. Only Bette Midler could do justice to the part, since her entire career has been based on being "The Divine Miss M," an over the top diva. That's exactly what Mame is all about!

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Ridiculous. Talk to the hand.

 

The fact is, honey, you're in a minority on this one. Just because you don't agree with it doesn't mean it's ridiculous. Lucy is not above objectivity. Nobody is.

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Neil (DAGGERS) ---->. yendor.....and a few left over for -----> LotusBud

 

Although you make a few valid points:-

AGREE:

1. the stiff smile as she's carted from one room to another in It's Today

2. Jane Connell doesn't deliver as Gooch.

3. Lucy is awkward in certain scenes

4. The Santa Claus mask was a bad idea and she DOES take it off quite carefully

5. Lucy's singing...well, she's no treat to Julie Andrews...or Liza Kirk....or even Elaine Stritch!

 

Although I feel #1 and #3 could have been eliminated with a director telling her to do it differently, the director picking up the PACE and the film editor doing same. Worst edited scene (and there are many): The Upsons at Mame's party (SOO much wrong with that scene that you cannot blame on Lucy: from the watered-down (from Auntie Mame) script to the awkward staging and again the PACE).

#2 is not entirely Connell's fault....and whatyamean she can't sing? Even if you don't like her style, she CAN sing.

#4 I don't like the mask either. It was unnecessary but it was what she was asked to do (and yes I noticed she takes it off carefully--but no big deal to me)

#5 Yes, Lucy isn't a "singer", but Mame is perhaps her worst attempt at 'serious' singing...and why is that? I think they were so concentrating on keeping her on key it took the spontaneity out of it---the vocal editing tricks didn't help either. If you hear her singing around this time, but pre-broken leg, it's PASSABLE ("Ukelele Talk" "Bank Robbing Medley"). The after-effects of the broken leg seemed to deepen and gruff-up her voice overnight. Perhaps the pain meds? Some of her post Mame singing is also better than Mame ("Makin' Whoopee" "Bouncing Back"). There are many methods at the vocal arranger and orchestrator to beef up her voice...and yes I think they should have hired a ghost vocalist for some of the notes. A true pro could blend these in and it would be completely unnoticeable. Another singer doing it ALL would not have been a good idea, only because of the potential of critic backlash. Orchestrations and back up singers ("the entire cast joins in") are perfectly legit tricks that any arranger worth his/her salt would have done. She sounds her worst in "Its' Today", which is unfortunately her opening number that sets the tone. I think most of the bad singing-complaints come from her singing of THIS song. I think she sounds FAIRLY good in the rest of the songs....except I have a big problem with the toneless way she sings "Boy" in "Where's that boy with a bugle". As far as the rest of "If He Walked....", I've got no problem with it. I like the way it's staged and the orchestrations hide the fact that Lucy cannot sustain notes. (However I must add, I think the orchestrations throughout are not terrible, but horribly recorded. The fidelity stinks). I think she acquits herself quite well when in the middle of the song the orchestra stops and she sings something a capella (can't remember the phrase). To sum up: Lucy's lack of singing prowess did not need to be a problem for "Mame".

 

DISAGREE:

1. I want to line people who critize Lucy's dancing in groups of 3 abreast (arranging them by similar height) and give each group a 3-Stooges slap, and then say "next".

Lucy is as much of a dancer as Angela or any other Broadway Mame except for Ann Miller, I guess. (and you talk about frozen smiles??!!)

 

2. I have absolutely no problem with her smiling reactions to her "Mame" number adulation. There are a couple of times when it looks a bit frozen. But you should have seen how frozen my smile was the last time I was surrounded by adoring steeple-jumpers. Watch her towards the end of Mame when she's walking down the aisle of people squating as she goes by, and varying her reactions. It's PERFECT....PERFECT (as Kaye Buell would say)

 

3. I disagree with you disagreeing about how much better it would have been earlier. You say 10 years but I don't think you have to go back that far. I cite her performance in "Critics Choice" AND her regal-ness as she descends the stairs in "the Steve Lawrence Show". She was type-cast as Lucy, but she's an actress and a good one; much more dramatic range than she's given credit for. Her scenes with the Upsons are good examples. The hand gesture she uses to guide the Upsons into the living room is oscar-worthy. ( well maybe 'zaggerating' a little)

 

4. BETTE MIDLER?? I love Bette in certain things, but as Mame??? She's too baudy. It would be like casting Iris Adrian (and Jody Gilbert as "Vera"--with stronger men to catch her as she passes out backwards downt he stairs). Again I love Bette when she's Bette-ing around but not so much when she strays. I am one of those who thinks her Rose in Gypsy was disappointing. Way too scenery-chewing.

 

And when does Lucy misprounce Patrick like Patwick? My God, show you a nit, you'll pick it!

 

(and yendor, I'm not familiar with you so don't take my comments personally...All in fun and I love a good debate...)

 

The film had much bigger issues than Lucy. Even if it had been made with Angela, had everything else been done the same way it was done with Lucy it would still be a deeply flawed film. Plus there's the simple fact that the source material isn't great. It has it's moments but It's not a musical that's lasted through the ages. Apart from the movie and dinner theatre productions it's largely forgotten.

 

Perhaps the best use the show was ever put to was a recurring gag in the movie "Connie and Carla", where somebody is searching for the title duo in every dinner theatre in the country. Every single theatre is performing Mame. So throughout the movie you constantly see these old ladies in feathered hats tapping their toes in audiences going "you coax the blues right outta the horn!" while this cop guy is on his cell phone: "Nope, they're not here!"

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The fact is, honey, you're in a minority on this one. Just because you don't agree with it doesn't mean it's ridiculous. Lucy is not above objectivity. Nobody is.

No, you're NOT in a minority here Taylor, it's about half and half, same as with those critics back then.

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Neil (DAGGERS) ---->. yendor.....and a few left over for -----> LotusBud

 

Although you make a few valid points:-

AGREE:

1. the stiff smile as she's carted from one room to another in It's Today

2. Jane Connell doesn't deliver as Gooch.

3. Lucy is awkward in certain scenes

4. The Santa Claus mask was a bad idea and she DOES take it off quite carefully

5. Lucy's singing...well, she's no treat to Julie Andrews...or Liza Kirk....or even Elaine Stritch!

 

Although I feel #1 and #3 could have been eliminated with a director telling her to do it differently, the director picking up the PACE and the film editor doing same. Worst edited scene (and there are many): The Upsons at Mame's party (SOO much wrong with that scene that you cannot blame on Lucy: from the watered-down (from Auntie Mame) script to the awkward staging and again the PACE).

#2 is not entirely Connell's fault....and whatyamean she can't sing? Even if you don't like her style, she CAN sing.

#4 I don't like the mask either. It was unnecessary but it was what she was asked to do (and yes I noticed she takes it off carefully--but no big deal to me)

#5 Yes, Lucy isn't a "singer", but Mame is perhaps her worst attempt at 'serious' singing...and why is that? I think they were so concentrating on keeping her on key it took the spontaneity out of it---the vocal editing tricks didn't help either. If you hear her singing around this time, but pre-broken leg, it's PASSABLE ("Ukelele Talk" "Bank Robbing Medley"). The after-effects of the broken leg seemed to deepen and gruff-up her voice overnight. Perhaps the pain meds? Some of her post Mame singing is also better than Mame ("Makin' Whoopee" "Bouncing Back"). There are many methods at the vocal arranger and orchestrator to beef up her voice...and yes I think they should have hired a ghost vocalist for some of the notes. A true pro could blend these in and it would be completely unnoticeable. Another singer doing it ALL would not have been a good idea, only because of the potential of critic backlash. Orchestrations and back up singers ("the entire cast joins in") are perfectly legit tricks that any arranger worth his/her salt would have done. She sounds her worst in "Its' Today", which is unfortunately her opening number that sets the tone. I think most of the bad singing-complaints come from her singing of THIS song. I think she sounds FAIRLY good in the rest of the songs....except I have a big problem with the toneless way she sings "Boy" in "Where's that boy with a bugle". As far as the rest of "If He Walked....", I've got no problem with it. I like the way it's staged and the orchestrations hide the fact that Lucy cannot sustain notes. (However I must add, I think the orchestrations throughout are not terrible, but horribly recorded. The fidelity stinks). I think she acquits herself quite well when in the middle of the song the orchestra stops and she sings something a capella (can't remember the phrase). To sum up: Lucy's lack of singing prowess did not need to be a problem for "Mame".

 

DISAGREE:

1. I want to line people who critize Lucy's dancing in groups of 3 abreast (arranging them by similar height) and give each group a 3-Stooges slap, and then say "next".

Lucy is as much of a dancer as Angela or any other Broadway Mame except for Ann Miller, I guess. (and you talk about frozen smiles??!!)

 

2. I have absolutely no problem with her smiling reactions to her "Mame" number adulation. There are a couple of times when it looks a bit frozen. But you should have seen how frozen my smile was the last time I was surrounded by adoring steeple-jumpers. Watch her towards the end of Mame when she's walking down the aisle of people squating as she goes by, and varying her reactions. It's PERFECT....PERFECT (as Kaye Buell would say)

 

3. I disagree with you disagreeing about how much better it would have been earlier. You say 10 years but I don't think you have to go back that far. I cite her performance in "Critics Choice" AND her regal-ness as she descends the stairs in "the Steve Lawrence Show". She was type-cast as Lucy, but she's an actress and a good one; much more dramatic range than she's given credit for. Her scenes with the Upsons are good examples. The hand gesture she uses to guide the Upsons into the living room is oscar-worthy. ( well maybe 'zaggerating' a little)

 

4. BETTE MIDLER?? I love Bette in certain things, but as Mame??? She's too baudy. It would be like casting Iris Adrian (and Jody Gilbert as "Vera"--with stronger men to catch her as she passes out backwards downt he stairs). Again I love Bette when she's Bette-ing around but not so much when she strays. I am one of those who thinks her Rose in Gypsy was disappointing. Way too scenery-chewing.

 

And when does Lucy misprounce Patrick like Patwick? My God, show you a nit, you'll pick it!

 

(and yendor, I'm not familiar with you so don't take my comments personally...All in fun and I love a good debate...)

Thanks for this Neil, i just ain't got the strength no more. I'd love to hear Mertz and Kurtz here at her age and see them carry a musical and dance and everything. Disagree about Bette in Gypsy though, thought she was perfect.

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The fact is, honey, you're in a minority on this one. Just because you don't agree with it doesn't mean it's ridiculous. Lucy is not above objectivity. Nobody is.

 

Half the things Yendor said about Mame are ridiculous, dearie. And I never said Lucy was above criticism. But if you don't have good valid points to back up your argument...well then you just show your ass. Sorry.

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You know, it wasn't even Lucy's vocals I had an issue with. True, she wasn't as vocally strong as Lansbury, but that's really irrelevant. Oftentimes an imperfect voice is perfect for certain characters (Frances Rufelle as Eponine, Elena Roger as Evita and Glenn Close as Norma Desmond for instance) whereas a magnificent voice can be completely wrong (Kiri te Kanawa in West Side Story). Lucille had a point about Mame's smoking and drinking contributing to less than stellar pipes, and she has a point. It's in other areas I don't buy her as Mame.

 

Singing aside, I can't really pinpoint a particular reason why she doesn't work for me in that film. The pacing doesn't help. The reviewer who commented that "it spans 20 years, and feels like it takes that long to get there too" wasn't off the mark. It could've been punched up in post but wasn't. Like Ricky said to his band once, "put some pep into it!"

 

Perhaps had George Cukor done it things would've worked out better. Perhaps had everything gone according to plan things would've turned out better. You know, if she hadn't broken her leg, if Madeline Kahn had worked out, if Bea Arthur hadn't felt obligated to do it because her husband was directing, if Cukor had been at the helm. It had so many strikes against it before it even began shooting, not wonder it was doomed for the critics. The final product shows a lot of potential, almost the movie that could've been. Sad we'll never be able to see that. Apparently Jerry Herman was really upset by how it turned out and insisted on direct involvement on all future adaptations of his work. Poor Jerry didn't have much luck in the movie department, what with Babs swallowing up Hello Dolly from him.

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Mame calls Patrick "Patwick" at least twice, right before she delivers the line about him being "babbity."

 

Maybe you guys just don't realize what kind of character Mame Dennis is supposed to be. She IS bawdy (like Bette Midler), she's bigger than life (something Lucy definitely is NOT in this film), and she isn't the kind of woman "suitable" for raising a young son. That's clearly established in the Roz Russell version and glossed over in Lucy's. Lucy as Mame wasn't outrageous, she wasn't full of life, and she never gave me the impression of someone who boozes it up all night and is "hung" in the morning. And where's the love between Mame and Patrick? I never saw it, not like Rosalind Russell displayed it--she truly looked like she had real affection for Patrick. Not Lucy.

 

Clearly, Lucy isn't in her element; she's stiff as a board and arrived embalmed. Just watch her duet with Vera in the restaurant. Her hair is laquered to a hardened helmet, a white hat stuck in all of it. She does a little shuffling here and there with Bea, and I could almost hear the choreographer counting, one, two three, and ONE, two three. Her big Mame number wasn't just about her smiling. When she danced, her face was frozen in a smile. I saw nothing of life, of energy, of anything. Critics remarked that her Mame didn't come to life until she skated on one skate out of the department store--a move more Lucy Carmichael than Mame Dennis.

 

I have the song "Need a Little Christmas" sung by the original cast, and it's bubbling over with energy. When Lucy croaks, "HAWWL out the holly!" I want to put my fingers in my ears. And Jane Connell, or whatever her name is, might be able to carry a tune--but her singing voice is grating, high-pitched and wavery, not the kind of thing I want to hear. If Lucy was such a stickler for having the Broadway cast repeat itself on film, she should've conceded to Angela. But no. She wanted to go out with a bang, and it destroyed her movie career.

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You know, it wasn't even Lucy's vocals I had an issue with. True, she wasn't as vocally strong as Lansbury, but that's really irrelevant. Oftentimes an imperfect voice is perfect for certain characters (Frances Rufelle as Eponine, Elena Roger as Evita and Glenn Close as Norma Desmond for instance) whereas a magnificent voice can be completely wrong (Kiri te Kanawa in West Side Story). Lucille had a point about Mame's smoking and drinking contributing to less than stellar pipes, and she has a point. It's in other areas I don't buy her as Mame.

 

Singing aside, I can't really pinpoint a particular reason why she doesn't work for me in that film. The pacing doesn't help. The reviewer who commented that "it spans 20 years, and feels like it takes that long to get there too" wasn't off the mark. It could've been punched up in post but wasn't. Like Ricky said to his band once, "put some pep into it!"

 

Perhaps had George Cukor done it things would've worked out better. Perhaps had everything gone according to plan things would've turned out better. You know, if she hadn't broken her leg, if Madeline Kahn had worked out, if Bea Arthur hadn't felt obligated to do it because her husband was directing, if Cukor had been at the helm. It had so many strikes against it before it even began shooting, not wonder it was doomed for the critics. The final product shows a lot of potential, almost the movie that could've been. Sad we'll never be able to see that. Apparently Jerry Herman was really upset by how it turned out and insisted on direct involvement on all future adaptations of his work. Poor Jerry didn't have much luck in the movie department, what with Babs swallowing up Hello Dolly from him.

You know, all my comments about the directing, well some of them could have been about the editor as some of you pointed out. The scene that bothered me the most was her standing still at the top of the stairs before she finally comes down. The editor should have filmed her coming down, not waiting for a cue to come down. As for the IT'S TODAY number, always thought it was perfect. Don't know what you guys are talking about, however, the drinking the fake glass bothered me, i had one of those fake glasses, the liquid is underneath the glass so you think she's drinking but she's not, they could have used a real glass.

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Mame calls Patrick "Patwick" at least twice, right before she delivers the line about him being "babbity."

 

Maybe you guys just don't realize what kind of character Mame Dennis is supposed to be. She IS bawdy (like Bette Midler), she's bigger than life (something Lucy definitely is NOT in this film), and she isn't the kind of woman "suitable" for raising a young son. That's clearly established in the Roz Russell version and glossed over in Lucy's. Lucy as Mame wasn't outrageous, she wasn't full of life, and she never gave me the impression of someone who boozes it up all night and is "hung" in the morning. And where's the love between Mame and Patrick? I never saw it, not like Rosalind Russell displayed it--she truly looked like she had real affection for Patrick. Not Lucy.

 

Clearly, Lucy isn't in her element; she's stiff as a board and arrived embalmed. Just watch her duet with Vera in the restaurant. Her hair is laquered to a hardened helmet, a white hat stuck in all of it. She does a little shuffling here and there with Bea, and I could almost hear the choreographer counting, one, two three, and ONE, two three. Her big Mame number wasn't just about her smiling. When she danced, her face was frozen in a smile. I saw nothing of life, of energy, of anything. Critics remarked that her Mame didn't come to life until she skated on one skate out of the department store--a move more Lucy Carmichael than Mame Dennis.

 

I have the song "Need a Little Christmas" sung by the original cast, and it's bubbling over with energy. When Lucy croaks, "HAWWL out the holly!" I want to put my fingers in my ears. And Jane Connell, or whatever her name is, might be able to carry a tune--but her singing voice is grating, high-pitched and wavery, not the kind of thing I want to hear. If Lucy was such a stickler for having the Broadway cast repeat itself on film, she should've conceded to Angela. But no. She wanted to go out with a bang, and it destroyed her movie career.

Your crapper is currently exceeding it's limit.
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Okay, this movie wasn't written or directed well. But not many 70s musicals were. Musicals were dead after the 60s. Even if they had the greatest director and writers I feel as if it still would've gotten crappy reviews at that time.

 

We all know Lucy didn't have the greatest voice. But Mame is a heavy smoker and drinker. So a deep raspy voice was in order. I felt as if it fit well. Even Roz's voice was deep in general.

 

Also the Mame character that Roz played was of course inspired by the true Mame Dennis but also the Lucy character. So who other than Lucy for a perfect candidate?

 

Now your Cher, Julie Andrews, and Bette Midler statement. Mame was middle aged-older and they were all young in the early 70s.

 

This movie isn't the greatest of all and has it's flaws but you can't blame it on Lucy. It's all the behind the scenes.

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Long story short. Lucille Ball makes a great Mame. Better than the boring Roz Russell version, which was extremely talky and Angela's Lansburied catbird singing on Broadway. Believe it or not Mame is a top selling DVD. Audiences have rediscovered the film. The film was just released at a time (1974) when musicals weren't popular and crap like Last Tango In Paris with Brando were being shown. If you ever go to Amazon.com they have the rating breakdowns by people and more people liked Mame than disliked it. Mame is one of the best musicals of all-time and Lucy was great in it despite her not being a great singer. Unofortunately, critics like to tear down a star who's at the height of their popularity and Lucille Ball was still quite popular in 1974 and til today she is still an icon. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so I'm giving you mine.

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Long story short. Lucille Ball makes a great Mame. Better than the boring Roz Russell version, which was extremely talky and Angela's Lansburied catbird singing on Broadway. Believe it or not Mame is a top selling DVD. Audiences have rediscovered the film. The film was just released at a time (1974) when musicals weren't popular and crap like Last Tango In Paris with Brando were being shown. If you ever go to Amazon.com they have the rating breakdowns by people and more people liked Mame than disliked it. Mame is one of the best musicals of all-time and Lucy was great in it despite her not being a great singer. Unofortunately, critics like to tear down a star who's at the height of their popularity and Lucille Ball was still quite popular in 1974 and til today she is still an icon. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so I'm giving you mine.

AND WE APPRECIATE IT DEARLY.

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Also the Mame character that Roz played was of course inspired by the true Mame Dennis but also the Lucy character. So who other than Lucy for a perfect candidate?

 

Now your Cher, Julie Andrews, and Bette Midler statement. Mame was middle aged-older and they were all young in the early 70s.

 

This movie isn't the greatest of all and has it's flaws but you can't blame it on Lucy. It's all the behind the scenes.

 

A lot of it is Lucy's fault. Why do you think the writer of the musical was so furious about the way it came out? He put ALL the blame on Lucy and her diva-ish ways. There were even rumors at the time that she invested her own money in the project, with the stipulation that she have the starring role.

 

As far as Cher, Julie Andrews and Bette Midler playing Mame, wherever did you get the idea we were talking about 1973? We're talking about NOW.

 

I've never heard that Roz took inspiration from Lucy when she did Mame. There's nothing of the Lucy character in Mame at all.

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Long story short. Lucille Ball makes a great Mame. Better than the boring Roz Russell version, which was extremely talky and Angela's Lansburied catbird singing on Broadway. Believe it or not Mame is a top selling DVD. Audiences have rediscovered the film. The film was just released at a time (1974) when musicals weren't popular and crap like Last Tango In Paris with Brando were being shown. If you ever go to Amazon.com they have the rating breakdowns by people and more people liked Mame than disliked it. Mame is one of the best musicals of all-time and Lucy was great in it despite her not being a great singer. Unofortunately, critics like to tear down a star who's at the height of their popularity and Lucille Ball was still quite popular in 1974 and til today she is still an icon. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so I'm giving you mine.

 

Wow, Amazon. Where fans post five stars to crap. All of your comments seem to have been taken from Lucy herself--the Last Tango reference, the tearing down of a star at the height of her popularity, etc. Those have all been referenced in Lucy books again and again. And correct me if I'm wrong, but Lucy was on the downside of her popularity in 1974. Here's Lucy had been cancelled by CBS, and she was looked upon as "old timey" and out of synch with what's new and relevant. The sorry fact is, she was indeed just that. Why else would she have tried to turn back the clock with Life with Lucy, when TV shows like that had already gone the way of the dinosaur.

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He put ALL the blame on Lucy and her diva-ish ways.

 

He certainly didn't.

 

 

Haaaawlll out the holleeeee!

 

Stimulating. How would you sing it? lol

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