Rosalind Russell’s career was somewhat different than other starlets of her era. Getting her start in her mid-20s, later than other women actors of her generation, Russell’s star persona was strongly associated with the “career woman.” When she starred in Auntie Mame (dir. Morton DaCosta, 1958), she was 51 years old, age-appropriate for the role, and yet it was uncommon in the 1950s for a middle-aged woman to take the sole lead, with younger actors relegated to the sidelines.
In this video, I look at some ways that Auntie Mame challenged 1950s femininity, even as it was universally loved by the comparatively conservative culture that received it.
Past Rosalind Russell films that have screened at IU Cinema are The Trouble with Angels as part of the series 5X Ida Lupino: Fearless, Extraordinary Trailblazer and His Girl Friday for the Sunday Matinee Classics Series.
Laura Ivins loves stop motion, home movies, imperfect films, nature hikes, and Stephen Crane’s poetry. She has a PhD from Indiana University and an MFA from Boston University. In addition to watching and writing about movies, sometimes she also makes them.