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Thanks to the Fox Movie Channel one can rediscover forgotten things that don't show on television these days. It was a royal treat to have this film play the other night. We had seen the film years ago, but one forgets how much fun it was and how it still can delight anyone at all.
It helps a great deal this musical score was written by Irving Berlin, perhaps one of the most talented American composers of all times. The music of "Call Me Madam" can't be considered his best, but it pleases the viewer when it plays on the screen. The direction by Walter Lang also was an asset; even though it's filmed musical theater, it doesn't feel claustrophobic.
Ethel Merman was a magnificent star of the New York Broadway stage. She was a legend in the way she could sing a song and she could be heard in the whole theater; no mikes for Ms. Merman!. She was an original who was a consumed entertainer; she graced many musicals during her lifetime. It shows how foolish Hollywood was in not letting Ms. Merman repeat some of the same roles she created for the theater. It's sad, but it's a great loss.
Donald O'Connor does some of his best work in films in the movie. He plays well against Ms. Merman, as well as against Vera Ellen, his love interest in the film. Mr. O'Connor and Ms. Ellen are charming in their roles.
A great surprise was to see George Sanders, a man who played heavies, or cynical characters on the screen, singing and acting with enough suavity to charm Ms. Merman. Also in the cast, Walter Slezak, Billy DeWolfe, who are also effective in their supporting roles.
This is a film that will delight anyone looking for a pleasant time watching a delightful musical.
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