7.0/10
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Call Me Madam (1953)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | April 1953 (USA)
Washington hostess Sally Adams becomes a Truman-era US ambassador to a European grand duchy.

Director:

Walter Lang

Writers:

Russel Crouse (musical "Call Me Madam"), Howard Lindsay (musical "Call Me Madam") | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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
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Storyline

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 L. Hamre

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

April 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Irving Berlin's Call Me Madam See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

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 »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Call Her Madam (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Lichtenburg
Words and Music by Irving Berlin
Sung by offscreen chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Madame Ambassador
2 August 2004 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Thanks to the Fox Movie Channel one can rediscover forgotten things that don't show on television these days. It was a royal treat to have this film play the other night. We had seen the film years ago, but one forgets how much fun it was and how it still can delight anyone at all.

It helps a great deal this musical score was written by Irving Berlin, perhaps one of the most talented American composers of all times. The music of "Call Me Madam" can't be considered his best, but it pleases the viewer when it plays on the screen. The direction by Walter Lang also was an asset; even though it's filmed musical theater, it doesn't feel claustrophobic.

Ethel Merman was a magnificent star of the New York Broadway stage. She was a legend in the way she could sing a song and she could be heard in the whole theater; no mikes for Ms. Merman!. She was an original who was a consumed entertainer; she graced many musicals during her lifetime. It shows how foolish Hollywood was in not letting Ms. Merman repeat some of the same roles she created for the theater. It's sad, but it's a great loss.

Donald O'Connor does some of his best work in films in the movie. He plays well against Ms. Merman, as well as against Vera Ellen, his love interest in the film. Mr. O'Connor and Ms. Ellen are charming in their roles.

A great surprise was to see George Sanders, a man who played heavies, or cynical characters on the screen, singing and acting with enough suavity to charm Ms. Merman. Also in the cast, Walter Slezak, Billy DeWolfe, who are also effective in their supporting roles.

This is a film that will delight anyone looking for a pleasant time watching a delightful musical.


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