37 user 17 critic

Madam Satan (1930)

Angela and Bob Brooks are an upper class couple. Unfortunately, Bob is an unfaithful husband. But Angela has a plan to win back her husband's affections. An elaborate masquerade ball is to ... See full summary »


Cecil B. DeMille


Jeanie Macpherson (by), Gladys Unger (by) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kay Johnson ... Angela Brooks / Madam Satan
Reginald Denny ... Bob Brooks
Lillian Roth ... Trixie
Roland Young ... Jimmy Wade
Elsa Peterson Elsa Peterson ... Martha - the Maid
Jack King Jack King ... Herman
Eddie Prinz Eddie Prinz ... Biff (as Edward Prinz)
Boyd Irwin Boyd Irwin ... Zeppelin Captain
Wallace MacDonald ... First Mate
Tyler Brooke Tyler Brooke ... Romeo
Ynez Seabury ... Babo
Theodore Kosloff ... Electricity
Julanne Johnston ... Miss Conning Tower
Martha Sleeper ... Fish Girl
Doris McMahon ... Water


Angela and Bob Brooks are an upper class couple. Unfortunately, Bob is an unfaithful husband. But Angela has a plan to win back her husband's affections. An elaborate masquerade ball is to be held aboard a magnificent dirigible. Angela will attend and disguise herself as a mysterious devil woman. Hidden behind her mask, and wrapped in an alluring gown, Angela as the devil woman will to try to seduce her unknowing husband and teach him a lesson. Written by Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Nothing like it! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

20 September 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Madame Satan See more »


Box Office


$980,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)| Black and White | Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film received one of its first, and rare early television broadcasts in San Francisco Monday 27 October 1958 on KGO-TV (Channel 7). Although occasional telecasts in less prominent markets did take place, there is no reliable documentation that it was ever televised in New York City, Los Angeles or Philadelphia at this time. See more »


Angela closes the same door twice when she visits Trixie's appartment. See more »


[first lines]
Angela Brooks: Oh, Bobbikin, did you have a beautiful bath?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown with smoke rising in the background, a reference to "satan", as mentioned in the title. See more »


Referenced in Bright Leaves (2003) See more »


The Chatterers
Music by Domenico Savino
See more »

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User Reviews

Has to be seen to be believed
28 May 2014 | by Igenlode WordsmithSee all my reviews

This is a totally bizarre amalgam of at least three different films: a wisecracking sex-comedy, an unsuccessful operetta, and a bedroom-hopping farce. Add into that mix 'disaster movie' and 'fashion parade', and you get a film that's worth seeing just for its jaw-dropping novelty value alone.

It's actually pretty good: most of the humour is intentional, and some of the rest of it may well be. (I'm not sure quite how seriously the film takes itself: I got the impression that the heroine is pretty much in the know about what is going on, for example, and is simply playing innocent when it suits her... either to get the information she's after, or merely in order to watch her misbehaving husband squirm.) Farce isn't my thing, but those scenes are pretty slickly done, while a lot of the risqué dialogue sparkles.

Sadly the film suffers from primitive sound recording techniques, to the extent that most of the lyrics of the musical sections are incomprehensible -- not too much of a problem for the stand-alone numbers, but a big issue for the ensemble songs that are supposed to drive the later part of the plot. A lot of the verbal punchlines to the visual jokes at the masquerade disappeared into the background fuzz, as well: for example, I still don't know what on earth Bob's costume was supposed to be, because I missed the announcement as he entered.

As a musical "Madam Satan" is not very successful: it's a story of missed opportunities (Cole Porter, Rudolf Friml, Oscar Hammerstein II, Sigmund Romberg and even Albert Ketelbey of "In a Monastery Garden" fame were all considered to write the musical numbers at one time or another, as were Jeanette MacDonald and Gloria Swanson for the lead). The operetta numbers are unmemorable -- the 'popular' numbers from Jack King and Elsie Janis have worn better in performance style, although you still won't find yourself whistling them as you leave.

There are lengthy ballet/costume sequences in the second half of the film that appear to be basically the equivalent of the gratuitous fashion parade colour reels that crop up in various 1930s films -- simply inserted into the story as an excuse to show off the spectacle. They are staggeringly extravagant, but to my taste the display dragged a bit after a while. (Watching all the revellers subsequently attempt to don parachute harnesses on top of these costumes, however, tends to confirm me in my suspicion that the film really doesn't take itself seriously!) And we learn, to my amazement at least, that on a dirigible the parachutes are not actually packed on the wearer's back but attached to casings in the hull itself -- no wonder the harnesses look weirdly skeletal. You can't simply jump free wearing a parachute: you have to be clipped on first...

The parachute sequence is another piece of disaster-comedy that has to be seen to be believed. On the whole I'd say that the film is at least 60% successful: MGM might have done better if they had ditched the musical elements altogether, since this is probably the weakest strand and the box office was saturated by musicals at this point, and gone flat out for shock value. It's certainly worth seeing for sheer bizarreness.

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