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Call Me Madam

A [1950] hit musical on Broadway, Call Me Madam scored a run of close to two years in Gotham with Ethel Merman, as Ambassador Sally Adams, the fabulous Femme diplomat, representing the US in the mythical Grand Duchy of Lichtenburg. Merman still reigns in the cinematic version.

With:
Ethel Merman Donald O'Connor Vera-Ellen George Sanders Billy De Wolfe Helmut Dantine

A [1950] hit musical on Broadway, Call Me Madam scored a run of close to two years in Gotham with Ethel Merman, as Ambassador Sally Adams, the fabulous Femme diplomat, representing the US in the mythical Grand Duchy of Lichtenburg. Merman still reigns in the cinematic version.

In key spots, George Sanders is the tiny country’s foreign department chief, and Donald O’Connor is the US press attache, Billy De Wolfe is the American charge d’affaires, Vera-Ellen plays the princess and Helmut Dantine is on hand as the prince who’s spurned by the princess in favor of the American press rep.

Madam offers an ingratiating book loosely fashioned after the career of Perle Mesta, former US Minister to Luxembourg. Added plusses are via the widened scope and richness of the production, lush mountains and extra trimmings for the delightful Irving Berlin score. Also, there’s the fresh, inventive choreography staged by Robert Alton, with O’Connor and Vera-Ellen as a terping combo of top calibre.

The screenplay, from the Howard Lindsay-Russel Crouse book, is imaginative and whimsical. Merman is at her robust best with a tune. At the opening, she gives ‘Hostess with the Mostest on the Ball’ a powerhouse delivery and it’s a cinch to provoke heavy mitting. Her ‘You’re Just in Love’ duet with O’Connor also is standout.

1953: Best Scoring of a Musical Picture.

Nomination: Best Color Costume Design

Call Me Madam

Production: 20th Century-Fox. Director Walter Lang; Producer Sol C. Siegel; Screenplay Arthur Sheekman; Camera Leon Shamroy; Editor Robert Simpson; Music Alfred Newman (dir.);; Art Director Lyle R. Wheeler, John De Cuir

Crew: (Color) Extract of a review from 1953. Running time: 114 MIN.

With: Ethel Merman Donald O'Connor Vera-Ellen George Sanders Billy De Wolfe Helmut Dantine

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