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H. Bruce Humberstone,
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
Due to the expiration of 20th Century Fox's music rights, the movie was completely withdrawn from public exhibition (both TV and theatrical) for nearly 20 years. During that time, its only public showing (with special permission from Irving Berlin) was at a 100 year tribute at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the 1990s. After the rights were renewed, the film was finally released on DVD in April 2004. See more »
Sally, you wouldn't like me to make a little farewell speech tonight?
That's right. I wouldn't!
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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 »
is an acquired taste. Apparently enough folks developed it enough to keep Ethel's shows running for a couple of decades.
One of the "Queens of Broadway" (with Mary Martin) Ethel Merman's brassy voice belted through many a record-breaking run, thrilling thousands.
What a rare treat to see her in a role she made her own! "Call Me Madam" is a dandy musical, rich with a great Irving Berlin score and lively performances.
Equally rare is the excellent singing performance of George Sanders. His beautiful baritone is heard in "It's an Old-fashioned Idea" and other lovely ballads. As he played Gen. Constantine, I couldn't help but wonder how his reported troubled private life might have gone had he done more light, musical fare.
Sanders' whole demeanor is different: he's warm, relaxed, sincere and fun-filled--what a departure from the cynical cads he was almost always engaged to portray! [N. B. History shows he was signed to star in a stage production of "South Pacific," and his recording of solo ballads, "The Sanders Touch: Songs to the Lovely Lady"--released five years after this film--has become one of the hottest collectors' items around.] All I can say is, his singing is gorgeous in "Call Me Madam."
If this Fox musical has the somewhat look and feel of an MGM production, there's Donald O'Conner and Vera-Ellen lending their aura from the latter studio. Director Walter Lang, an old-hand at Fox musicals and light comedies, keeps things on track, while Bob Alton's dances really hit-the-mark.
"Call Me Madam" is a most delightful diversion, and a lasting testament to the gifted Merman--the "hostest with the mostest."
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