Bill Benson and Ted Adams are to appear in a Broadway show together and, while in Paris, each 'discovers' the perfect leading lady for the plum female role. Each promises the prize role to ... See full summary »
Melvin Hoover, a budding photographer for Look magazine, accidentally bumps into a young actress named Judy LeRoy in the park. They start to talk and Melvin soon offers to do a photo spread... See full summary »
B.G. Bruno, a rich bachelor, the head of a successful greeting-card company in Scotland, is essentially a kind man but respectable to the point of stodginess and extreme stuffiness. An ... See full summary »
Joan Howell, a young and pretty maid-for-hire, meets and begins dating wealthy New York City businessman Tom Milford. Embarrassed about bringing him back to her tiny apartment that she ... See full summary »
Boisterous nightclub entertainer Buzzy Bellew was the witness to a murder committed by gangster Ten Grand Jackson. One night, two of Jackson's thugs kill Buzzy and dump his body in the lake... See full summary »
In squeaky-clean New York at the turn of the century, playboy Charlie Hill falls so much in love that he can walk on air. The object of his affections is beautiful Angela Bonfils, a mission... See full summary »
A young man falls in love with a beautiful blonde. When he sees her being forced onto a luxury liner, he decides to follow and rescue her. However, he discovers that she is an English ... See full summary »
Boisterous, fun-loving, and popular Washington D.C. hostess Sally Adams is appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Lichtenburg, Europe's smallest country. In Lichtenburg, the Duke and Duchess are negotiating a political marriage for their niece, Princess Maria in exchange for a substantial dowry. However, the country is desperate for funds, and turns to the inexperienced ambassador for a much needed U.S. loan. Sally refuses to talk money, that is, until she meets the ultra charming Gen. Cosmo Constantine. Meanwhile, Sally's press attaché Kenneth Gibson falls head over heels for Princess Maria. Written by
A running gag in the movie has Sally Adams taking calls from President Harry Truman, and receiving bad news about his daughter Margaret's singing career. ("Even in Denver? Well, the opera critics don't know everything. She made money, didn't she?") During her father's administration, Margaret Truman went on tour as an opera singer. Her performances always attracted large crowds, but opera critics often panned her singing. After one particularly harsh review, Harry Truman sent a personal letter to the critic: "Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!" See more »
And just to make sure I haven't got a chance, they make me wear this.
[points to her skirt]
I don't mind a "train," but they shouldn't have given me the Super Chief!
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During the opening credits, as each word in the title appears onscreen, we hear, but do not see, Ethel Merman exclaiming, in a demanding tone of voice: "Call..me..madam!" See more »
Carol Channing, Mary Martin, Ethel Merman - the three biggest stars of Broadway between 1940 and 1970, and none made as big an imprint in movies. This seems to be a running sore in cinematic history - so few stage stars were great film figures. Some, like George M. Cohan, did not like the restrictive effects of movie making, and made few stabs at film (though, fortunately, Cohan made THE PHANTOM PRESIDENT in 1932). Others just seemed to weak on film. The great Pauline Lord made one movie, the pathetic MISS WIGGS OF CABBAGE PATCH, which (if recalled at all) is remembered as a film "starring" (he was actually in a supporting role) W.C.Fields. Channing, star of GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDS watched while that role went to Marilyn Monroe, and star of HELLO DOLLY watched as that role went to Barbara Streisand. Martin, star of SOUTH PACIFIC saw Mitzi Gaynor play Nellie Forbush, and star of THE SOUND OF MUSIC saw the role of Maria Von Trapp become identified with Julie Andrews. Merman with credits like ANYTHING GOES, PANAMA HATTIE, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, and GYPSY, only was able to keep the role of Reno Sweeny in ANYTHING GOES, when it was first made into a film in the 1930s. She was fortunate to also have the role of Sally the ambassador in CALL ME MADAM on film. It was a rarity, because she knew the part and was able to shine in a film adaptation. It's success probably enabled her to get another lead in the musical THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS. But the latter film, despite her good work in it (and Dan Dailey's, Mitzi Gaynor, and Donald O'Connor's)is recalled because Marilyn Monroe sang "We're Having a Heat Wave". Merman never led in another musical film again, and would be overlooked for GYPSY (when Rosalind Russell got the part).
At least here and in the first ANYTHING GOES we see how she handled stage roles in her career. Mary Martin was less successful, her film record of her stagecraft limited to the scene in the first Cole Porter biopic NIGHT AND DAY, when she sings the song MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY as she did on stage (unfortunately two of her chorus, Gene Kelly and Van Johnson, were not asked to repeat their chorus boy parts). There is the television version of PETER PAN, which is on video. It's fortunate that exists (there is also some songs from SOUTH PACIFIC that were sung with Ezio Pinza on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW). The rest is silence. As for Channing, the only time she appeared in a movie musical, it was as the wacky aunt of Mary Tyler Moore in THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE (a movie not based on any stage musical). Channing had little singing to do in it.
So Merman was able to do one great performance on film. CALL ME MADAM, a musical spoof on the career of political hostess Pearl Mesta, was a charming little musical (no ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, though). It's best musical moment is the duet with Donald O'Connor (I HEAR MUSIC BUT I DON'T KNOW WHERE), and it is a romantic piece of fluff. Nice also to see George Sanders playing a decent chap for a change. But watching Merman at her best, makes one regret what was not captured on film of her other performances. Ironically, that great singing voice is best recalled as a "loud-mouth broad" voice from Merman's best remembered role: the obnoxious mother-in-law of Milton Berle in IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD.
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