IMDb > Call Me Madam (1953)
Call Me Madam
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Call Me Madam (1953) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
7.0/10   779 votes »
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Up 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Russel Crouse (musical "Call Me Madam")
Howard Lindsay (musical "Call Me Madam")
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Call Me Madam on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
April 1953 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Washington hostess Sally Adams becomes a Truman-era US ambassador to a European grand duchy. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Ethel's Finest Moment See more (44 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Ethel Merman ... Sally Adams

Donald O'Connor ... Kenneth Gibson

Vera-Ellen ... Princess Maria

George Sanders ... General Cosmo Constantine

Billy De Wolfe ... Pemberton Maxwell
Helmut Dantine ... Prince Hugo
Walter Slezak ... August Tantinnin
Steven Geray ... Prime Minister Sebastian
Ludwig Stössel ... Grand Duke Otto (as Ludwig Stossel)

Lilia Skala ... Grand Duchess Sophie
Charles Dingle ... Sen. Brockway
Emory Parnell ... Sen. Charlie Gallagher
Percy Helton ... Sen. Wilkins
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hannelore Axman ... Telephone Switchboard Operator (uncredited)
Leon Belasco ... Leader (uncredited)
Oscar Beregi Sr. ... Chamberlain (uncredited)
Julio Bonini ... Cabinet Minister (uncredited)
John Brascia ... Dancer in 'The Ocarina' Number (uncredited)
Ralph Brooks ... Soldier (uncredited)

George Chakiris ... Dancer in 'The Ocarina' Number (uncredited)

Barrie Chase ... Dancer in The Ocarina (uncredited)
Jack Chefe ... Soldier (uncredited)
James Conaty ... Guest at Sally's Party (uncredited)
Heinie Conklin ... Townsman at Fair (uncredited)
Charles J. Conrad ... Newspaper Reporter (uncredited)
Sayre Dearing ... Ball Extra (uncredited)
Helen Dickson ... Guest at Sally's Party (uncredited)
Don Dillaway ... Newspaper Reporter (uncredited)
Dante DiPaolo ... Dancer in 'The Ocarina' Number (uncredited)
Johnny Downs ... Cameraman (uncredited)
Fritz Feld ... Hat Clerk (uncredited)
Eddie Firestone ... Reporter (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Carnival Guest in Box (uncredited)
Richard Garrick ... Supreme Court Justice (uncredited)
Frank Gerstle ... Newspaper Reporter (uncredited)
Everett Glass ... Announcer at Sally's Party (uncredited)
Kit Guard ... Townsman at Fair (uncredited)
Sam Harris ... Townsman at Fair (uncredited)
Stuart Holmes ... Ball Extra (uncredited)
Walter Woolf King ... Secretary of State (uncredited)
Mike Lally ... Ball Extra (uncredited)
Sidney Marion ... Beer Garden Proprietor (uncredited)
Matt Mattox ... Dancer in 'The Ocarina' Number (uncredited)
Renny McEvoy ... First G.I. (uncredited)
Lal Chand Mehra ... Minister from Magrador (uncredited)
Torben Meyer ... Rudolph (uncredited)
Harold Miller ... Ball Extra (uncredited)
Forbes Murray ... Ball Extra (uncredited)
Roger Neury ... Doorman at Ball (uncredited)

Julie Newmar ... Dancer in 'The Ocarina' Number (uncredited)
William J. O'Brien ... Doorman at Ball (uncredited)
Nestor Paiva ... Miccoli (uncredited)
Manuel París ... Headwaiter at Sally's Party (uncredited)
Gene Roth ... Captain of Equerries (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre ... Ball Extra (uncredited)
Olan Soule ... Clerk (uncredited)
Bert Stevens ... Ball Extra (uncredited)
Hal Taggart ... Extra in Newsreel (uncredited)
Charles Tannen ... Reporter (uncredited)
Dale Van Sickel ... Extra in Newsreel (uncredited)
Ernö Verebes ... Music Clerk (uncredited)

John Wengraf ... Ronchin (uncredited)
Marc Wilder ... Dancer in 'The Ocarina' Number (uncredited)
Mack Williams ... Burton - Sally's Butler (uncredited)
Allen Wood ... Cameraman (uncredited)
William Yetter Sr. ... Equerry (uncredited)
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Directed by
Walter Lang 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Russel Crouse  musical "Call Me Madam"
Howard Lindsay  musical "Call Me Madam"
Arthur Sheekman  screenplay

Produced by
Sol C. Siegel .... producer
 
Original Music by
Alfred Newman (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Leon Shamroy (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Robert L. Simpson  (as Robert Simpson)
 
Art Direction by
John DeCuir  (as John De Cuir)
Lyle R. Wheeler  (as Lyle Wheeler)
 
Set Decoration by
Walter M. Scott 
 
Costume Design by
Irene Sharaff 
 
Makeup Department
Ben Nye .... makeup artist
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Hal Klein .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Bernard Freericks .... sound
Roger Heman Sr. .... sound (as Roger Heman)
 
Visual Effects by
Ray Kellogg .... special photographic effects
Matthew Yuricich .... visual effects artist (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Sam Benson .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Lyman Hallowell .... assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Robert Alton .... dances and musical numbers staged by
Ken Darby .... vocal director
Earle Hagen .... orchestrator
Alfred Newman .... musical director
Herbert W. Spencer .... orchestrator (as Herbert Spencer)
Conrad Gozzo .... musician: trumpet (uncredited)
Alfred Newman .... music supervisor (uncredited)
Edward B. Powell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Carol Richards .... singing voice: Vera-Ellen (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Leonard Doss .... technicolor color consultant
Leland Hayward .... stage producer
Jerry Bryan .... dialogue coach (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Irving Berlin's Call Me Madam" - USA (complete title)
See more »
Runtime:
114 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
While Alfred Newman took home the Oscar for Scoring of a Musical Picture, he had failed to garner a nomination that same year in the dramatic category for The Robe (1953), a score considered by film-music scholars to be one of Mr. Newman's finest compositions.See more »
Quotes:
August Tantinnin:And if I may be permitted an extremely unofficial remark, off the record, as you say, the American ambassador is very beautiful.
Prime Minister Sebastian:So beautiful.
Sally Adams:Well, thank you.
[aside]
Sally Adams:A good optometrist could clean up around here.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in 20th Century-Fox: The First 50 Years (1997) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
The Best Thing For You Would be MeSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
12 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
Ethel's Finest Moment, 24 August 2004
Author: theowinthrop from United States

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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