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George At 

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Way back in 1974, Lucille Ball hit the big screen in a big budget, event movie version of the long time Broadway hit MAME.

I always thought that it was a pre-requisite that people cast in musicals should be able to sing. Foreshadowing the bad choice of Russell Crowe in "Les Mis" many years later, we have the gravel voiced Lucy belting out show tunes throughout.

Everyone loves Lucy, but you end up feeling bad for her being part of this big bomb.

Bea Arthur (Maude) shows up as her best friend to sing a couple lively numbers with her, and even though her voice may be even deeper and worse than Ball's, Arthur is a pro and brings some much needed energy to things.

Robert Preston (The Music Man, Victor Victoria) is a pro at movie musicals and raises everything a notch when he arrives halfway through the film as Southern gentleman Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside. Yep, that's really his name.

When Preston gazes lovingly at Mame and the camera cuts to her, there is so much gauze and soft lighting on Lucy, its like you suddenly have glaucoma.

There is a LOT of money on screen here, but all the sets, costumes and extras at Warner Bros can't save this from being one of the biggest box office bombs of the seventies.

Between the box office poison of this and "Lost Horizon" the same year, the genre of movie musicals fell over and died for five years until "Grease" came along.

We'll give it an off-key D.

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