Some rare fictional characters can withstand even the most lumbering interpretation. One might have thought that would apply to Mame, the plucky heroine who captivated readers in Patrick Dennis' novel, came to the stage in Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee's play, took to the screen in
1958 as AUNTIE MAME with Rosalind Russell, returned as a Broadway musical with Angela Lansbury, and finally came up short in this film version featuring a miscast Lucille Ball. Larded over with production values and the added music, MAME lacks the insouciance of the first film, weighed down by
Ball's frog-voiced performance. Moreover, Arthur sounds like a basso profundo, and her scen...