Madam Satan (1930)

Drama | September 1930

Director:

Cecil B. DeMille

Producer:

Cecil B. DeMille

Cinematographer:

Harold Rosson

Editor:

Anne Bauchens

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Mitchell Leisen

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The forthcoming Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M) picture was announced in the 30 Oct 1929 Var, which stated that actor Roland Young had been cast in Cecil B. DeMille’s first musical production, Madam Satan. Over three months later, the 13 Feb 1930 FD reported that Harold Rosson would serve as cameraman, and his brother, Richard Rosson, was hired as assistant director, but Richard Rosson was not credited in reviews with Mitchell Leisen and Cullen Tate.
       On 10 Mar 1930, FD announced that principal photography had begun that day, at the M-G-M Studios in Culver City, CA.
       According to the 12 Mar 1930 Var, M-G-M planned to use the “Multicolor” coloring process in one or two sequences of Madam Satan.
       Singer-dancer Evelyn Hayes, and dance duo Renoff and Renova, were cast in the picture, as reported in the 29 Mar 1930 Inside Facts of Stage and Screen. The latter would appear as “featured dancers in the ‘mechanical super-ballet’ consisting of 120 dancers, staged in the ballroom of a Zeppelin.”
       The 12 Jul 1930 Exhibitors Herald-World indicated that DeMille’s production included a ten-and-one-half minute long musical score, nearly filling an eleven minute sound reel, which was reportedly “the longest unbroken musical score as yet placed in a talking picture.”
       The 2 Aug 1930 Inside Facts of Stage and Screen announced that DeMille was currently finishing the editing.
       According to the 17 Sep 1930 Var, Madam Satan screened in theaters in Chicago, IL, the week of 12 Sep 1930. The picture opened in New York City at Loew's State Theatre the week of ... More Less

The forthcoming Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M) picture was announced in the 30 Oct 1929 Var, which stated that actor Roland Young had been cast in Cecil B. DeMille’s first musical production, Madam Satan. Over three months later, the 13 Feb 1930 FD reported that Harold Rosson would serve as cameraman, and his brother, Richard Rosson, was hired as assistant director, but Richard Rosson was not credited in reviews with Mitchell Leisen and Cullen Tate.
       On 10 Mar 1930, FD announced that principal photography had begun that day, at the M-G-M Studios in Culver City, CA.
       According to the 12 Mar 1930 Var, M-G-M planned to use the “Multicolor” coloring process in one or two sequences of Madam Satan.
       Singer-dancer Evelyn Hayes, and dance duo Renoff and Renova, were cast in the picture, as reported in the 29 Mar 1930 Inside Facts of Stage and Screen. The latter would appear as “featured dancers in the ‘mechanical super-ballet’ consisting of 120 dancers, staged in the ballroom of a Zeppelin.”
       The 12 Jul 1930 Exhibitors Herald-World indicated that DeMille’s production included a ten-and-one-half minute long musical score, nearly filling an eleven minute sound reel, which was reportedly “the longest unbroken musical score as yet placed in a talking picture.”
       The 2 Aug 1930 Inside Facts of Stage and Screen announced that DeMille was currently finishing the editing.
       According to the 17 Sep 1930 Var, Madam Satan screened in theaters in Chicago, IL, the week of 12 Sep 1930. The picture opened in New York City at Loew's State Theatre the week of 15 Sep 1930, as indicated in the 24 Sep 1930 Var, which reported box-office earnings of $9,300 from its first week in release. The Los Angeles premiere was held on 24 Sep 1930 at the Criterion Theatre, as stated in the 27 Sep 1930 Exhibitors Herald-World.
       Reviews were mixed. The 5 Oct 1930 FD praised the characteristic “spectacular” DeMille settings and costumes, but noted that the picture, with its many “risqué” lines, was not suitable for family viewing. The 15 Oct 1930 Var review deemed the film a "super-special-balogny-gem" and "an expensive insult to audiences." More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Herald-World
12 Jul 1930
p. 43.
Exhibitors Herald-World
27 Sep 1930
p. 43.
Film Daily
13 Feb 1930
p. 9.
Film Daily
10 Mar 1930
p. 6.
Film Daily
5 Oct 1930
p. 10.
Inside Facts of Stage and Screen
29 Mar 1930
p. 3.
Inside Facts of Stage and Screen
2 Aug 1930
p. 3.
New York Times
6 Oct 1930
p. 21.
Variety
30 Oct 1929
p. 34.
Variety
12 Mar 1930
p. 6.
Variety
17 Sep 1930
p. 25, 34.
Variety
24 Sep 1930
p. 8.
Variety
15 Oct 1930
p. 52.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
SOUND
Rec eng
Rec eng
DANCE
Dance dir
SOURCES
SONGS
"Meet Madam," "We're Going Somewhere," "The Cat Walk" and "This Is Love," words by Clifford Grey, music by Herbert Stothart
"Live and Love Today," words by Elsie Janis, music by Jack King.
COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
September 1930
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 15 September 1930
Los Angeles opening: 24 September 1930
Production Date:
began 10 March 1930
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 October 1930
Copyright Number:
LP1622
Physical Properties:
Sound
Movietone
Black and White
Length(in feet):
10,320
Length(in reels):
13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Wealthy socialite Angela Brooks finds she is losing the love of her husband, Bob, to a wild young showgirl named Trixie. Advised by the maid, she sets out to recapture her husband by taking on the personality of the mysterious "Madame Satan." At a costume party given aboard a giant dirigible, Angela entrances her husband by her modish vamping, amidst a spectacular electrical ballet in which characters simulate everything from sparkplugs to lightning bolts. After she has successfully ensnared him, the dirigible is struck by lightning, and the guests are forced to parachute from the ship. After Angela gives her parachute to the distraught Trixie, Bob, realizing his love for Angela, gives her his parachute and dives from the ship, suffering only minor injuries by landing in the Central Park reservoir. Husband and wife are blissfully ... +


Wealthy socialite Angela Brooks finds she is losing the love of her husband, Bob, to a wild young showgirl named Trixie. Advised by the maid, she sets out to recapture her husband by taking on the personality of the mysterious "Madame Satan." At a costume party given aboard a giant dirigible, Angela entrances her husband by her modish vamping, amidst a spectacular electrical ballet in which characters simulate everything from sparkplugs to lightning bolts. After she has successfully ensnared him, the dirigible is struck by lightning, and the guests are forced to parachute from the ship. After Angela gives her parachute to the distraught Trixie, Bob, realizing his love for Angela, gives her his parachute and dives from the ship, suffering only minor injuries by landing in the Central Park reservoir. Husband and wife are blissfully reunited. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.