4.02.2006

Peggy Cass in AUNTIE MAME (1958) - Supporting Actress Sundays

Peggy Cass might well be the acting equivalent of a one-hit wonder.

Sure, she had other parts but -- really -- she got famous as a result of her work in the stage and screen versions of Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell. And she stayed famous by being famous, sitting on talk-show couches and celebrity panels, becoming an exemplar of that strange breed: "the television personality."

But MrStinky does love the 1958 film version of Auntie Mame.

And Peggy Cass' Agnes Gooch just makes him laugh. Out loud. And no surprise. Peggy Cass' performance as Agnes Gooch is a very simple, very smart, very silly, very effective supporting performance.

MrStinky may laugh so because Agnes Gooch -- as expertly played by Cass -- is basically an extended series of sight gags. A series of sight gags underscored, of course, by Cass' remarkable rasp of a voice. (In Gooch, Cass bellows right on the break of her voice, creating an extraordinary sound, something like gravel and glass being shaken in a coffee can.) So when Cass' Gooch isn't laying on the stair and/or the Danish Modern settee, or when she's not madly taking notes on Russell's ratatatat delivery, or when she's not absurdly crammed into an evening gown -- Cass hollers lines like "I'm your sponge!" or "I lived!" or "Will it mix with Dr. Pepper?" (On the other hand, StinkyLulu likes to think that MrStinky laughs so because Agnes Gooch -- like MrStinky -- is from Staten Island. Itsa theory...)

But ya gotta give it to LaCass: snagging an Oscar nomination as an actress in a broadly comic role and almost taking the statue home?!? (There's an old Jack Paar story that has him blaming himself for her loss because he campaigned so hard for Cass, one of his favorite guests.) Plus the role that made Cass famous (and vice/versa) is also the name of an alternarock band. Now that's unique testament to an indelible supporting performance...

1 comment:

Bobby said...

I love the gooch!