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Madam Satan


Comedy / Drama / Musical / Romance

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Lillian Roth Photo
Lillian Roth as Trixie
Cecil B. DeMille Photo
Cecil B. DeMille as Radio Newscaster
Kay Johnson Photo
Kay Johnson as Angela Brooks / Madam Satan
Ann Dvorak Photo
Ann Dvorak as Zeppelin Reveler
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.04 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 55 min
P/S 5 / 36
1.93 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 55 min
P/S 8 / 61

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Steffi_P8 / 10

"She will ensnare you"

There are some directors who failed and faltered in the sound revolution. There are others who made a success of the new form and were even revitalised by it. Cecil B. DeMille is perhaps in a league of his own, who with Madam Satan created a work suffering from all the awkwardness of the worst early talkies, and yet one gloriously weird and wonderful in a way that only his pictures could be.

It's true; Madam Satan is incredibly stilted and static in its construction. I'm not referring to the anchored camera – DeMille didn't really rely on camera movement anyway. But like many early talkies it places too much importance on dialogue, and is structured like a stage play with very long and very wordy scenes. The sound recording is appalling and sometimes we can hear dialogue when characters are in long shot, which seems very unnatural. Like most early musicals the numbers are spoiled by indecipherable operatic vocals.

But never fear! Madam Satan was scripted by the delightfully barmy Jeanie Macpherson. What's more we find DeMille, ever with his finger to the wind, putting his own grandiose and unashamedly smutty spin on the bedroom-comedy musical genre that was making such a splash at his old stomping ground, Paramount. The result is one of the most unintentionally surreal pictures I have ever seen. We begin with some Lubitsch-esque bed-hopping comedy scenes, sprinkled with a few songs. We then decamp to a fancy-dress party on board a Zeppelin (why not?) for an extended musical sequence, which looks like the result of Fritz Lang hiring Busby Berkeley to direct a scene in Metropolis. Just as the characters' passions start to run away with them, it suddenly turns into a disaster movie – a bit of a DeMille-Macpherson trademark, that.

Madam Satan is also special in that it is perhaps the only DeMille comedy which is actually rather funny. The occasionally witty dialogue was probably Gladys Unger's contribution to the screenplay, but what really makes it work is the excellent comic timing and rapport of Reginald Denny, Lillian Roth and Roland Young. In comparison to these three very satisfying cast members, leading lady Kay Johnson seems rather bland, and has "poor-man's Jeanette MacDonald" written all over her.

Most of the songs are by Herbert Stothart, who would soon rise to become MGM's in-house composer. Musically they are fairly forgettable, although it's interesting how they are used to define character and drive the plot forward in a way that later became standard but was by no means a given in the very earliest musicals. DeMille, always a very rhythmic director, shoots some great dance numbers, and shows great musical sensitivity for the "All I Know Is You're in My Arms" number, tracking along with the silhouetted dancers, and putting in a wonderful slow tilt when they are still, corresponding to the swell in the music. It's a shame this was his only musical.

Madam Satan has got to be one of the weirdest film experiences I have ever had, and after my first viewing I wasn't quite sure if perhaps I dreamt it. It was (sniff) the last significant contribution to a DeMille picture by Jeanie Macpherson, and while all his work after this was filled with adventure and spectacle, they were missing a certain something that only she could bring. Madam Satan is however an appropriately daffy swansong – a boozy, art-deco, all-talking, all-dancing concotion that is worth watching for its sheer oddness.

Reviewed by AlsExGal7 / 10

Debauchery on a dirigible with Greta Garbo as Catwoman

This is Cecil B. DeMille's weirdest film, but it is not nearly as bad as film history would have you believe. It was his only musical comedy and it tanked at the box office, but I've always been fond of these early sound curios. Kay Johnson plays Angela Brooks, married to wealthy Bob Brooks (Reginald Denny) who spends his nights partying with his friend Jimmy (Roland Young). Bob "respects" his wife, but his passion goes to his mistress, Trixie (Lillian Roth).

When Angela finds out about Bob's mistress, she goes to have it out with her, and finds that Trixie could care less about being found out, and worse gives away all of her secrets about getting and keeping Bob, feeling that Angela wouldn't know how to use such tips anyways. . Later, Jimmy has a masked ball staged on a dirigible complete with bizarre musical numbers. It is visually interesting, but as with all of the music in this film, the numbers are completely forgettable. The only thing musically memorable is Lillian Roth doing a couple of numbers. If she hadn't had a tragic life right out of the gate there would have probably never been an Ethel Merman, because Roth would have had Merman's career. She has a spitfire presence and a booming sexy voice.

The men are bidding for dances with the women, with all attention and bidding going to Trixie until a stranger walks in - Madame Satan. She is supposed to be French but she sounds just like Greta Garbo and she is supposed to be dressed like Satan but she looks like Catwoman to me. In the meantime, the crew is getting concerned because a storm is brewing and threatening the dirigible.

Bob Brooks is a curious character. In spite of the fact that he is cheating on his wife he seems to have strong Puritanical standards for both his wife and his mistress. However, he doesn't mind abandoning Trixie for the promise of bigger better possibilities, even if Trixie is standing right there. Roland Young is always good as the friend with his dry one liners. Even though he has a small part in this film, he is the only one with a semblance of a film career just a few years later.

Recommended for the weirdness of it all, but I admit these early talkies are my weakness and YMMV.

Reviewed by planktonrules6 / 10

Perhaps the weirdest Hollywood film of the 30s.

The strangest thing in this film might be the morality of the plot. Folks today seem to think that films of the 30s were all stodgy and prudish. Well, this might be true of movies made AFTER mid-1934 when a toughened Production Code was adopted by the studios. But, before that, films were perhaps even wilder than they are today. Stuff like nudity, adultery, abortion, homosexuality, premarital sex and even bestiality were to be found in many of the Hollywood films. In fact, the films were becoming so family-unfriendly, that people stopped attending pictures and the studios started to worry about not surviving the Depression. So, in an effort spurred on far more by economics than morality, Hollywood adopted this very draconian code. Now, in the 'cleaned up Hollywood', you had wholesomeness and virtue...and it became just a bit boring at times. Now I LOVE films of the 1934-1950 era--but occasionally the morality in them seems silly--married couples weren't allowed to be in bed together at the same time, evil was ALWAYS punished by the end of the film (wow...wouldn't it be nice if real life was that way!) and women definitely did NOT enjoy least not decent women! And, as for the indecent women, as I said, in the end, evil is ALWAYS punished! But none of these Post-Code rules apply to films like "Madam Satan".

This Cecil B. DeMille* film begins with a lovely wife, Angela (Kay Johnson) waiting and waiting for her no-good husband, Bob (Reginald Denny) to return home. However, the guy has been out whooping it up with his friend--drinking (this is during Prohibition, by the way) and chasing other women. Surprisingly, Angela is rather good-natured about it--and seems to accept the age-old notion that 'boys will be boys'. However, Bob is a real jerk. Not only isn't he apologetic but blames Angela for being too boring. In fact, he later announces that he's leaving, as his mistress is much more of a woman than Angela will ever be! At this point you'd assume Angela would be ready to kill or divorce this worm--this WOULD be the case in the Post-Code world. Instead, after getting over her initial hurt and shock, she's decided to cook up a plan to get him back! After all, in this era, men must be excused their little...peccadilloes (a nice word used at the time to cover a multitude of sins...but mostly adultery).

What exactly is the plan? Well, it all unfolds during an insane society costume party--the most bizarre party EVER thrown on this planet--and not just because of its locale but because of the costumes and song and dance numbers! A bunch of rich philanderers rent out a zeppelin (you know, one of those massive airships like the Hindenburg) and invite all their mistresses for a rip-roaring good time. Naturally Bob and his floozy are there. However, just before this woman is crowned the Belle of the Ball, in steps Madam Satan--a very mysterious masked woman of the world. And Madam Satan is NOT there to make new friends or go for a zeppelin ride...nope. She's there to screw Bob...and she's not very subtle about it! Using her thick foreign accent, she vamps Bob and announces 'who wants to go to Hell with Madam Satan?'. Well, obviously Bob does, and he pursues this mystery woman like a dog chasing after a pork chop! Eventually, Bob discovers who this mystery woman is that he so wants to know better. But, before he can deal with this, the zeppelin breaks loose from its mooring mast and goes careening through the clouds! Then, the costumed party-goers and crew jump from the airship and parachute to the ground...with a few comical (and one mildly racist) scenes as the folks land.

Does this sound completely crazy? Of course. But the craziest part are the costumes and sets. It must have cost a fortune to make the film and this was at the worst part of the Depression!! Just think of the millions of folks out of work and a film about Madam Satan vamping a rich no-goodnick like Bob! Crazy...but almost impossible to stop watching! If you want to see it, you can get a copy from Amazon, Turner Classic Movies' website or perhaps they'll show it again on TCM. You DEFINITELY ain't seen nothing' yet with this one!!

*If you are an old film nut, you'll probably recognize DeMille as the guy who brought us a long series of overblown religious epics like "The Ten Commandments".

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