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

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Russel Crouse (musical "Call Me Madam")
Howard Lindsay (musical "Call Me Madam")
View company contact information for Call Me Madam on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
April 1953 (USA) See more »
Washington hostess Sally Adams becomes a Truman-era US ambassador to a European grand duchy. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Won Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
That Hostess With The Mostess See more (45 total) »


  (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:

Elizabeth Allan ... Singing Telephone Operator (uncredited)

Leon Alton ... Minor Role (uncredited)
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 Calliga ... Minor Role (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)
Luigi Faccuito ... Dancer in 'The Ocarina' Number (uncredited)

Fritz Feld ... Hat Clerk (uncredited)

Eddie Firestone ... Reporter (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Carnival Guest in Box (uncredited)
Arno Frey ... Butler (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)
Charles Legneur ... Cabinet Minister (uncredited)
Imogene Lynn ... Singing Telephone Operator (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)
George Nardelli ... Cabinet Minister (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)

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

Additional Details

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

Did You Know?

This is the only full film musical that George Sanders made, despite his appealing singing voice.See more »
Grand Duke:Tell me - How does this reception differ from your famous Washington parties?
Sally Adams:Well we have a good time!
See more »
Movie Connections:
You're Just in LoveSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
13 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
That Hostess With The Mostess, 28 October 2006
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

Movie audiences got a treat in Call Me Madam because they got to see Ethel Merman repeat one of two of her Broadway roles for the screen, the other being in the first Anything Goes.

For some reason, movie audiences never really took to Ethel. She did some parts during the Thirties, but in the Forties worked exclusively on Broadway. Mary Martin suffered a similar fate and we never got to see any of her Broadway starring roles with the exception of the famous telecast of Peter Pan.

Irving Berlin wrote the score for Call Me Madam and the book is based on the colorful life of Perle Mesta, famous Washington socialite who Harry Truman made ambassador to Luxembourg.

That's the way of things in Washington. Both parties with a new administration give ambassadorships out to wealthy contributors and Perle Mesta, an oil widow was one of the wealthiest.

Ethel is appointed by President Truman as Ambassador to the mythical duchy of Lichtenburg. Her rather informal style sets some professional State Department teeth rattling and during the course of the film both causes and solves a diplomatic crisis. Her personal assistant, Donald O'Connor is in her corner, but the chief of Protocol Billy DeWolfe is at his wit's end.

Both Ethel and Donald find romance in Lichtenburg, she with Count George Sanders and he with Vera-Ellen. When things aren't looking so good, they console each other with the hit song of Call Me Madam, You're Just In Love. This is what you call a contrapuntal melody with both members of the duet singing different melodies at the same time. At the same time this one was hitting the jukeboxes, another contrapuntal by Berlin, Play A Simple Melody was revived by Bing Crosby and his son Gary. To my knowledge no other major composer has ever had a hit with one of those.

George Sanders surprised quite a few folks with his singing voice. They needn't have been, he in fact had appeared in some musicals on the London stage before going into film. And he drops the sneer that usually accompanies most of us film characters and makes a most dashing and romantic count.

Dropped from the film version was Irving Berlin's tribute to Dwight D. Eisenhower which became his campaign theme song, I Like Ike. I guess it was considered redundant since the American people already had him. There are many references to Harry in the book and how Ethel was going to not let him down in the position he placed her in.

Billy DeWolfe steals every scene he's in as the fussy officious career foreign service employee, Pemberton Maxwell. If there ever was a name for a stuffy career WASP diplomat, that's it. They were a ripe target back then, certain politicians made a living on accusing a whole flock of them as traitors. One of them was Truman's Secretary of State, Dean Acheson. There manner didn't play well in what we would now call red state America.

Call Me Madam is bright and funny with a great score and some fabulous performances. Can't do better than that.

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