Friday, July 29, 2011

Rosalind Russell in "Auntie Mame"

Rosalind Russell received her last Oscar nomination for playing Mame Dennis in Auntie Mame.

I would go as far as saying you really have to have a taste for this kind of witty screwball comedy (if their is such a thing) to fully appreciate Auntie Mame. Having been established on the stage, it's painfully obvious here on the screen - every actor lives for a one-liner, at every turn, everyone is wisecracking and sorry to all the fans out there, I don't like it. The story follows a woman and her nephew from the 20s up through the depression, as she tries to show him the more zany side of life.

Rosalind Russell plays the eccentric Auntie Mame Dennis - she is truly the definition of eccentric. She does things suddenly and without hesitation, she is popular and charming, she likes to be the center of attention but never an annoyance. She is always happy, maybe sometimes shows disappointment, but is always looking for the bright side of any cloud. The character is just too perfect, and that's exactly the point - Mame is looked at as a inspiration for everyone around her. The problem for me is it's too much - Russell makes the fatal mistake of not transitioning her stage acting to film acting.

She is constantly overplaying the eccentricity of the character, and again, for the film it somehow fits perfectly, but that doesn't mean it's impressive. Also, the hilarity of the character is just strange - Russell follows this really perfectly, giving a strange, stagy performance that relies on the viewer to make up their mind on how they will react to her shenanigans and shallow performance. A bright moment here and there can barely save her.

1 comment:

Louis Morgan said...

I agree completely about the film and the performance.