Call Me Madam

Call Me Madam

4.4 5
Director: Johnny Downs, Walter Lang, Ethel Merman, Donald O'Connor

Cast: Johnny Downs, Walter Lang, Ethel Merman, Donald O'Connor

The cinematic adaptation of Irving Berlin's Call Me Madam had the benefit of retaining the stage production's star Ethel Merman. The film makes its debut on DVD with this release that presents the movie in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1. English soundtracks are rendered in both Dolby Digital Stereo and Dolby Digital Mono. English and Spanish


The cinematic adaptation of Irving Berlin's Call Me Madam had the benefit of retaining the stage production's star Ethel Merman. The film makes its debut on DVD with this release that presents the movie in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1. English soundtracks are rendered in both Dolby Digital Stereo and Dolby Digital Mono. English and Spanish subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include a detailed commentary track recorded by Miles Kreuger who serves as president of The Institute of the American Musical. The original trailer is also available on this solid release from 20th Century Fox that comes highly recommended to genre enthusiasts.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Call Me Madam gave Ethel Merman one of only two chances (the other being Anything Goes) to re-create one of her stage triumphs on film, and Madam is a much more faithful and successful adaptation than Anything Goes. Merman is in top form here, demonstrating why she was a legend on-stage and at the same time why she was rarely used to good advantage in Hollywood. Merman's persona, as outsized as her clarion voice, was too difficult to capture on film. It's not that she overplayed, it's that she overexisted. Fortunately, even on film, Madam's Sally Adams demands an actress that can't help but dominate the proceedings. Merman's inimitable belt is in solid form, punching home "The Hostess With the Mostess' on the Bell" and "Can You Use Any Money Today." Her duet with Donald O'Connor, "You're Just in Love," is a showstopper. O'Connor is a delight throughout, as is Vera Ellen as his love interest. Their duets, "It's a Lovely Day Today" and "Something to Dance About," are highlights. O'Connor has often called Ellen his favorite dancing partner, and they are indeed a perfect match. Much more surprising is George Sanders, who carries off his change-of-pace musical leading man part with considerable aplomb. The film is marred by rather pedestrian direction and the fact that the script is strained and often silly, but the cast and the score make it fine, undemanding entertainment.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Full-length audio commentary by musical film scholar Miles Kreuger; Theatrical trailer & teaser

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ethel Merman Mrs. Sally Adams
Donald O'Connor Kenneth
Vera-Ellen Princess Maria
George Sanders Cosmo Constantine
Billy DeWolfe Pemberton Maxwell
Helmut Dantine Prince Hugo
Walter Slezak Tantinnin
Steven Geray Sebastian
Ludwig Stossel Grand Duke
Lilia Skala Grand Duchess
Charles Dingle Sen. Brockway
Emory Parnell Senator Gallagher
Percy Helton Sen. Wilkins
Leon Belasco Leader
Oscar Beregi Chamberlain
Nestor Paiva Miccoli
Torben Meyer Rudolph
Richard Garrick Supreme Court Justice
Walter Woolf King Secretary of State
Olan Soule Clerk
John Wengraf Ronchin
Fritz Feld Hat Clerk
Erno Verebes Music Clerk
Hannelore Axman Switchboard Operator
Sid Marion Proprietor
Johnny Downs Cameraman
Charles Conrad Newspaper Reporter
Frank Gerstle Newspaper Reporter
Lal Chand Mehra Minister from Magrador
Gene Roth Equerry
Allen Wood Cameraman
Donald Dillaway Newspaper Reporter

Technical Credits
Johnny Downs Director
Walter Lang Director
Robert Alton Choreography
Irving Berlin Score Composer,Songwriter
John De Cuir Production Designer
Ray Kellogg Special Effects
Alfred Newman Musical Direction/Supervision
Ben Nye Makeup
Walter Scott Set Decoration/Design
Leon Shamroy Cinematographer
Irene Sharaff Costumes/Costume Designer
Arthur Sheekman Screenwriter
Sol C. Siegel Producer
Robert L. Simpson Editor
Lyle Wheeler Production Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Titles (Call Her Madam!) [1:57]
2. She Solemnly Swears [1:26]
3. Where She Was Born [3:14]
4. We Need Each Other [3:06]
5. Lichtenburg! [3:11]
6. A Desirable Marriage [:57]
7. You Open, I'll Close [:43]
8. Can You Use Any Money Today? [4:38]
9. Sharing Secret Passages and Thoughts [4:24]
10. An Old Fashioned Idea [1:56]
11. It's a Lovely Day [:31]
12. Simple Peasants [3:37]
13. Getting Lichtenburg Up to Date [5:54]
14. The Dance Says it All [4:03]
15. Those Who Serve a Purpose [5:36]
16. You're Just in Love [2:49]
17. Dance to the Music [1:22]
18. The Fairest Lady at the Fair [3:48]
19. Indiscreet Advances [2:54]
20. What Chance Have I? [3:37]
21. Love Vs. Diplomacy [4:24]
22. A Reason to Dance [3:46]
23. A Change of Diplomacy [2:28]
24. The Best Thing for Us [1:28]
25. It's Just One Hundred Million! [4:17]
26. Dealing With the Right Diplomat [2:39]
27. Prime Minister Cosmo [6:39]
28. Failed Foreign Friendships [:33]
29. A Heartbroken Duet [3:47]
30. That Dirty Sebastian! [3:13]
31. The Pleasure of Your Company [:21]
32. A Washington Affair [2:32]

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Call Me Madam 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
"Call Me Madam" has been out of circulation for many years, but this DVD release proves it to be a much better film than the critics suggest. Ethel Merman, not a film personality, shines in the role of Pearl Mesta, the hostess with the mostest, and Donald O'Connor and Vera-Ellen make outstanding dance partners in one of the most beautifully choreographed films ever. Even George Sanders, usually a rather sour character, is a delight, and puts over a song very well. This is super entertainment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I saw another Donald O'Connor movie released on DVD, I ordered it right away. I didn't have a clear picture of what it would be about, but after watching it, I believe it is a political satire. The movie starts by telling us that this story is about two mythical countries: the U.S. and Lichtenberg. I thought that was strange, but I suppose it was a disclaimer because the movie shouldn't be taken too seriously. (The DVD commentary had some interesting comments on the background of the story.) The cast was excellent I had never seen Ethel Merman in anything before, but let me tell you, she was a stitch! I really enjoyed her performance as the feisty ambassador with the big voice. George Sanders played well opposite her and was every inch a gentleman. The lovely Vera-Ellen was perfect as the beautiful princess who steals Donald O'Connor's heart. As for Donald himself, he was his usual funny and charming self, and got ample opportunity to display his talents in this film! The two of them make a cute couple. Their dances together are magnificent! The songs by Irving Berlin were quite frequent, but none of them dragged (the way some songs in musicals do.) They were all tuneful and memorable, and I soon found myself humming some of them after watching it. "Call Me Madam" is an all around treat!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first saw this wonderful musical as a teen as an adult I have been searching for a copy!!! Ethel is at her glorious best, especially in her duet with Donald O'Connor. As usual for the period, costumes are wonderfully extravagant. I love it!