21 August 2007
life is a banquet
for gay men of my generation "Auntie Mame" is a canonical film.
I first saw it early in 1959 with my best friend T. R. Queen who was a Patrick Dennis fanatic. the last time I'd seen it was 1993 with my last partner. but like Camille Paglia who has seen it "countless times" I watchd again last nite.
part of its gay allure is its embrace of the outsider but its witty lines & sheer style are considerable elements. some queer theorists read Mame Dennis as an older gay man initiating a younger to the community. (strangely the last time I saw the Lawrence & Lee play Charles Busch playd the lead in drag.)
I also approach it as a cinephile. Rosalind Russell is radiant. her timing is brilliant & she looks smashing in those Orry-Kelly costumes. like every great comedienne she's able to make you laugh one moment & cry the next. & in support there's Forrest Tucker showing off what he's best rememberd for. also one appreciates the care given to the smallest of parts. in the play scene we find Margaret Dumont from the Marx Brothers pictures. & in a party none other than Gloria Holden who was "Dracula's Daughter." also on hand is Sam Harris -- the male equivalent of Bess Flowers. & yes... Cris Alexander who a few years after this movie wd take those glorious photographs for another Patrick Dennis novel Little Me.
it's always a surprise -- & a pleasure -- to come back to a favorite work from one's youth & find it remains vibrant.
at Rosalind Russell's grave (2002)