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Call Me Madam

1 rating: 4.0
A movie directed by Walter Lang

A great star and a great composer can make a Broadway musical into a smash, as Ethel Merman and Irving Berlin proved withCall Me Madam. Not a bad place to start with a movie, either, and the 1953 film of the show has both Merman and Berlin represented … see full wiki

Tags: Movies
Director: Walter Lang
1 review about Call Me Madam

"Hey, boss, where the heck is Lichtenburg?"

  • Oct 30, 2009
Rating:
+4
Ethel Merman's greatest triumphs were on the Broadway musical stage, where she starred in such shows as "Annie Get Your Gun", "Something for the Boys", "Girl Crazy", "Happy Hunting" and "Gypsy". On the screen, however, Merman wasn't so lucky. The only stage performance which Merman was granted the opportunity to cement on film was Sally Adams, the Washington hostess with the mostes', in Irving Berlin's CALL ME MADAM.

Assigned to the tiny European duchy of Lichtenburg, Washington society hostess-turned Ambassador Sally Adams (Ethel Merman) is soon up to her neck in romance and mayhem. The kingdom is broke and needs a loan from the States, but Sally won't be swayed by their overtures...until the handsome Foreign Minister (George Sanders) starts making overtures of his own! Meanwhile, Sally's assistant Kenneth (Donald O'Connor) literally falls head over heels for the lovely Princess Maria (Vera-Ellen).

Ethel Merman's brash vocal style was best suited to the zippy music of Irving Berlin, and the CALL ME MADAM score was especially-tailored to her unique gifts. "The Hostess with the Mostess on the Ball" is a fantastic opener, and things get even better with "Can You Use Any Money Today?", ''That International Rag", and "You're Just in Love". Merman doing pensive or romantic ballads was always an uneasy combination, but "The Best Thing for You" is actually the one number I adore most in this score. George Sanders reveals a strong and emotive singing voice in a rare musical role; Vera-Ellen's vocals (for "The Ocarina", "It's a Lovely Day Today" and "Something to Dance About") were dubbed by Carole Richards.

The DVD includes audio commentary with musical theatre historian Miles Krueger, two trailers, plus sneak peeks at other musicals available from Fox ("All That Jazz", "The Rose", "The Commitments", "Star!", "The Sound of Music", "Roxie Hart").

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