Sunday, October 18, 2009

1930 - DeMille's amazing sex musical MADAM SATAN

A wife discovers her husband is cheating on her with a night club singer. She decides to humiliate him by dressing up as a character at a masquerade party known as Madam Satan.

The masquerade party happens to be on a dirigible which gets struck by lightening. The dirigible races out of control and breaks in two. The partiers in full costume, parachute out of the dirigible to save their lives and that's the normal stuff in this film.

Here is an excellent example of DeMille the filmmaker indulging his fantasies and fetishes in the very public forum of a film musical. The women are basically dressed in lingerie or strange bizarre costumes throughout the film. The musical numbers are dadaist in their conception and execution. The "Cats on the Catwalk" production number with the costumed party people hopping their way up a catwalk dressed as pussycats is a very very strange thing to see. Then there is the electric man production number (see above picture). Apparently this goofball doing his so called dance routine as a bolt of electricity was a major influence on Agnes DeMille who went on to choreograph Oklahoma.

It's easy to use the word "heightened reality" but is seems to fit a film like this.

I've seen a lot of DeMille films, but I've never seen a film like this one.

 A stunning film.

 116 minutes.

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