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edgeciff

CALL ME MADAM

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Has anybody out there seen this new DVD release? FOX is to be commended for the print quality of this 1953 screen adaptation of the B'way musical. This print is dazzling, it literally blew me away. The colors are so vivid they jumps out at you. This Irving Berlin musical has long been unavailable like the previous ANNE GET YOUR GUN had been. I had seen it years ago in a butchered print with loads of commercial on TV. The entire cast is in top form. Ethel Merman got to reprise her Tony winning role. And this is something that is rarely done in Hollywood. Most her stage roles (when filmed) went to film actresses. Merman is simply terrific in this film. The flick was so successful that FOX tailored another vehicle for her the following year and reteamed her with Berlin and co-star Donald O'Connor in the Cinemascope vehicle THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOWBUSINESS. For Donald O'Connor this was one year after the classic SINGIN IN THE RAIN. He has a terrific dance solo and several with the wonderful Vera-Ellen. In fact HE was to be reunited with Vera-Ellen the following year for WHITE CHRISTMAS, but unfortunately he broke his leg and was not able to do this Berlin musical. For Vera-Ellen, CHRISTMAS would be her most famous film and sadly she would make only, I believe two more films, both overseas. George Sanders is a revelation in this film. He has several musical numbers and performs them extremely well with his rich baritone voice. Few people know he performed some operettas in his early career as he was trained for the opera. His chemistry with Merman is terrific. Both of them look like they are having a good time. A plus is Alfred Newman conducting the FOX orchestra is his best style. If you are a musical buff this is for you, but many will enjoy this sparking musical adaptation and appreciate this new Technicolor print.

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I read an excellent review of this DVD on the Digital Bits website, written by Barrie Maxwell, and he praised it as well. I've put it on my list on Netflix and am eagerly awaiting it!

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Thanks for the review of CALL ME MADAM, edgecliff. I saw a copy of the dvd at my local big bookstore, but I wasn't sure that I wanted to buy it with no info. I've never seen this film shown on tv, cable or local. I'll have to check it out!

 

Sandy K

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CALL ME MADAM is excellent. Tuneful Irving Berlin songs, great color, costumes and performances. It is worth owning and a different contrast to the musicals made at Metro. The Fox musicals always had a distinctive look and tone and this one is no different. It's bawdy and raucous, like the original Broadway show although some of the lyrics have been toned toned by the censors. Somewhat loosely based on the career of Pearl Mesta, 'the hostess with the mostess on the ball.' Vera Ellen and Donald O'Connor dance wonderfully and Merman, Sanders and, If I remember correctly, Billy de Wolfe are in top form.

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ALEXANDERS RAGTIME BAND will probably include the "outtakes" (lots of them) as well. If they are wise, that is!

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