Auntie Maim

Blessed Mother of Maude Adams, what fresh hell is this?

From Variety:

‘[Director Luca] Guadagnino said he and Swinton aspire to remake “Auntie Mame” as a “rock-n-roll, super funny, super mainstream movie.”

They would set their “Mame,” which is about a boy growing up as ward of his dead father’s eccentric sister, in the present-day.

“This is an SOS for Warner Bros. to give us the rights for this remake, which only Tilda could do justice to,” he added.’

You know I have nothing against a revival of Auntie Mame and/or Mame. Or even a filmed remake of either property. However, this isn’t exactly how I pictured a re-emergence of the timeless character. In any incarnation, Mame is a period piece, and continues to work well in said period. Her effusive spirit is something that comes out of the Roaring Twenties, survives the Crash of ’29 and continues into the Big Band Era: living life to the fullest and fighting the Establishment and stuffy provincial bigots along the way.

Elements of Auntie Mame could work today, but I hardly consider her “rock-n-roll.” Mame Dennis Burnside is more than a character, she’s a force of life. A living embodiment of Bohemianism and sophistication that I think most people would love to have in their lives. Not to mention, Tilda Swinton strikes me as all wrong for the part. Swinton is certainly an eccentric personality as attested by her Hefty bag fashion sense on Oscar night, and she leads a rather Bohemian lifestyle as evidenced by her open relationship with both husband and lover. I am pleased that she considers Auntie Mame one of her favorite films, but there is no need for her to reinvent the wheel.

Is there anyone who could bring savvy sophistication like Rosalind Russell, Greer Garson or Angela Lansbury? It’s harder to cast the role of Mame because the character for all it’s glorious lines and costumes, is static. Mame never changes, which is essential to her Mary Poppins-esque way of popping in and out of her nephew’s life. The actress who can successfully play Mame should be patrician, open-hearted and sympathetic. It takes more than a good delivery of a zinger to make a Mame.

I would rather sit through the leaden 1974 film version of Mame with Lucille Ball than see the rape of a classic.