Monday, 9 May 2011

Who wants to go to Hell with Madam Satan?

Madam Satan 1

When, in 1930, the master movie producer Cecil B. DeMille was instructed by MGM to make his first (and only) musical, his was a typically dramatic response. For there is no film quite like Madam Satan!

Starring Kay Johnson (as the eponymous anti-heroine), Reginald Denny (as her alter-ego's errant husband) and Lillian Roth (as the vamp who steals him), this is a remarkable extravaganza indeed. Even the plot description on IMDB is camp:
Angela and Bob Brooks are an upper class couple. Unfortunately, Bob is an unfaithful husband. But Angela has a plan to win back her husband's affections. An elaborate masquerade ball is to be held aboard a magnificent dirigible. Angela will attend and disguise herself as a mysterious devil woman. Hidden behind her mask, and wrapped in an alluring gown, Angela as the devil woman will to try to seduce her unknowing husband and teach him a lesson.

Madam Satan 2

Art Deco stylised to the extreme, never quite knowing whether it was meant to be farce, epic or Busby Berkeley-esque spectacle, Madam Satan nevertheless has gained a place in the camp "cult movie" pantheon - it features a masked ball, terrible acting, glittering gowns, and (badly) choreographed dance routines on board a dirigible for heaven's sake!

Madam Satan 3

Critic Richard Barrios sums it us thus:
"The second half of Madam Satan is one of the great examples of weirdness in American pop cinema: a twilight zone wherein musical comedy meets disaster epic, all designed and costumed (by Adrian) with the farthest out Art Deco affectation."

Madam Satan 4


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  1. Looks like a film for me then! Thanks for this very fun post!

  2. I love art deco (I deal in it) styling and I love films...I think I need this one in my collection!

    1. I think everyone needs a dose of "Madam Satan"! Jx


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