Today, as a part of their 31 Days of Oscar programming, TCM was celebrating past nominees of the Best Costume Design category. Being stuck in bed not feeling well, I decided to check out a couple of the films. First up was the 1953 film Call Me Madam. Up until now, I had seen Ethel Merman in only one other film (1954's There's No Business Like Show Business), so I was excited to see what she had to offer. Having Donald O'Connor, Vera-Ellen, and George Sanders along for the ride also sweetened the deal.
Call Me Madam (1954)
Ethel Merman as Sally Adams
Donald O'Connor as Kenneth Gibson
Vera-Ellen as Princess Maria
George Sanders as General Cosmo Constantine
Sally Adams is a social butterfly whose hobby of knowing everyone of value in Washington, D.C., pays off when she's chosen to serve as United States Ambassador to the fictional country of Lichtenburg. Once settled in her new position, she strikes up a romance with the country's smooth foreign minister, Cosmo Constantine, and her assistant Kenneth catches the eye of Princess Maria. [Netflix]
My Favorite Scene:
Hands down my favorite scene(s) were when we were treated to the beautifully choreographed dances between Donald O'Connor and Vera'Ellen. That being said it was at the royal party where Kenneth and Princess Maria dance in the garden that has to take the top spot. I was mesmerized by Maria's dress every time she spun. The way it flowed and spun around was beautiful and graceful. This pairing was on point because they complimented each other so well.
Trivia and Tidbits:
For almost 20 years the film was withdrawn from exhibition because Fox's music rights had expired. It wasn't until 2004 when the film was released on DVD that it was seen again. Something I didn't know prior to viewing this film was that Vera-Ellen suffered from anorexia, which is why most of her costumes in the film were designed to cover her neck because it was thin and pre-maturely wrinkled. Prior to this film Ethel Merman originated her role on Broadway from 1950-1952 in 644 performances.
I've yet to see an Irving Berlin film I didn't enjoy. Even if the story isn't up to par, the musical numbers always make up for that. This film isn't one of those because this film was quite charming. From the exquisite singing from the entire cast (this was George Sanders only full musical film) to the double love story lines, I couldn't look away from the screen.