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REVIEWS
"Enter Madame!"



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Character's Name: Gerald Fitzgerald
Release Date:  January 4, 1935
Director: Elliott Nugent
Studio:  Paramount Publix
Running Time: 81 minutes

Cast: Elissa Landi (Lisa della Robbia), Cary Grant (Gerald Fitzgerald), Lynne Overman (Mr. Farnum), Sharon Lynne (Flora Preston), Frank Albertson (John della Robbia), Cecelia Parker (Aline Chalmers), Wilfred Hari (Tamamoto), Michelette Burani (Bice), Paul Porcasi (Archimede), Adrian Rosley (The Doctor), Torben Meyer (Carlson)


Plot:
- by ZoŽ Shaw
Gerald falls in love with temperamental Opera star, Lisa. Married life turns out not to be so glorious, so Gerald returns to the States while his wife is on tour in Europe. Lisa learns of Gerald's intentions to divorce her, and returns to the States too. She wins him back from his new love, Flora.

Review: 
- by Debbie Dunlap
Enter Madame! Appropriately carries an exclamation point in its title. Each and every time we meet Madame Lisa (pronounced Leeza) Della Robbia, opera prima donna, the audience is bombarded with the noise and activity of her entourage. Her doctor, Doc; her manager, Mr. Farnum; her lady-in-waiting, Bice; her cook, Archimede; her dog, Toto; her parrot; and her husband, Gerald Fitzgerald. The most pronounced characteristic of this movie is the noise. It is a very noisy movie.

In ‘Pretty Woman,’ Richard Gere explains to Julia Roberts that some people may come to appreciate the opera, but never to truly love it. Wealthy New Yorker, Gerald Fitzgerald, truly loves the opera, and most particularly, any opera in which Madame Della Robbia sings, and he is always seated in the first box on the left.

During a performance, an accidental fire onstage prompts Gerald to jump from his box to Lisa’s rescue. The fire onstage may have been snuffed out, but a new one is ignited when the two meet. Soon they are married.

Gerald is warned by Mr. Farnum, Lisa’s manager, that marriage to a famous opera star will soon become tedious for Gerald. But, so much in love, Gerald swears his life and allegiance to Lisa’s career, while Lisa swears that she’d give up her career if it ever became wearisome for Gerald.

Their honeymoon trip is her tour of Europe. Bright eyed and full of love at its onset, Gerald soon tires of walking Madame’s dog, and of being Mr. Della Robbia. When Madame’s European tour ends, it is his bride’s turn to follow Gerald to America for one year where she will be the dutiful wife. However, Lisa accepts a tour of Scandinavia instead, and sends Gerald off to New York alone. While onboard the ship bound for America, Gerald meets an old flame, Flora, who is more than eager to rekindle a former spark.

Over a year passes as Madame Della Robbia accepts one tour after another informing Gerald with one telegram after another. Flora, in New York with Gerald all this time, has convinced him that the life he wants is one with peaceful serenity, a complacent wife and feet firmly planted on American soil. Gerald files for divorce.

Lisa rushes to New York to undo the damage her neglect has caused. When emotional pleas don’t work, she uses the one weapon she knows Gerald is most vulnerable to: her music and her voice.

Lisa invites both Flora and Gerald to a last opera before they part forever, with dinner at her place afterward. At the opera, she sings a love song straight into Gerald’s heart, much to Flora’s displeasure. Afterward, Gerald is quite at home amidst the hustle and bustle of Madame’s entourage, although Flora is shocked and infuriated. During dinner, Madame’s doctor reminisces about his attempted retirement and subsequent return to Madame. He muses, “the music was in my blood; more than the rheumatism. I suffered more from the memories, they would stab my heart every day.” Gerald’s face registers this same emotion. We know then that Flora is history and that Madame has only to bide her time.

After a few well-placed insults from Flora, Gerald hastily pushes Flora out of the front door and Lisa into the bedroom. The movie ends with Gerald again following Madame to her next tour, but with new ground rules: He mustn’t be part of her entourage, he must be her husband.

A working knowledge of Italian would have made this a much more enjoyable movie. Also, I came to the conclusion early in this movie that I was one who would never come to even appreciate opera, let alone love it!

VARIETY Film Review - January 15, 1935
- by "Chic"
- submitted by Barry Martin
Apparently a story that will not draw large grosses in most spots, but none-the-less a brisk story, well adapted, with good dialog, good acting and intelligent direction.  It screens as more or less of a follow-up on 'One Night of Love,' but it may not appeal to the lesser patronage not interested in the stage as a subject.  Should pick up on run dates from word of mouth, but question is can Miss Landi command the name followers?  This should help her make claim to that position.  Play might have been written for her.  Gilda Varesi, who was part author, did the stage version, but Miss Landi makes the part her own and individual.

The story is simple, the American who marries a temperamental opera singer, gets tired of trailing her around, goes back to America in the hope she will follow.  She cannot resist enticing offers.  He obtains a divorce, but before the decree is perfected she wins him away from the woman who sought to marry him before the opera singer got her chance.  Not much to the story, but it is well written, with brisk dialog which is expertly read by the cast members.  The direction gives the final touch, for it strikes exactly the note sounded by the authors and builds up the full possibilities of every situation without growing to farcical.  Elliott Nugent rates a bow on this one.  

Miss Landi is, of course, the center of things, but there are enough others generally on the stage with her to prevent it being a one-part play.  Her entourage of maid, chef, physician and manager all provide sound comedy.  But it is one of Miss Landi's few real chances since she went into pictures.  She is vivacious, temperamental, tender, raging and pleading by turn.  Her facial play is remarkably good, but she never muggs.  Cary Grant is in character as the husband and Lynne Overman contributes a brilliant performance as the manager, with Frank Albertson not far behind as the singer's half brother.  Sharon Lynne and Cecelia Parker are rather in the shade, but Michelette Burani, Paul Porcasi and Adrian Rosley provide an almost constant flow of comedy.

Miss Landi is supposed to sing an aria from 'Tosca' in a bit from 'Cavalleria.'  Another voice is used and while her lips follow the words the synchronizing has been poorly done.  The 'Cavalleria' is gorgeously staged and the outstanding big spectacle moment.  But for comedy there has seldom been better work than the final scenes, which move rapidly and surely to a briefly romantic close.  It is one of the few plays which build up to the finish instead of losing out to falling action.  It stops on the highlight.  It might be germane to mention that story, dialog and action are all alike; clean and competent.  The League of Decency may object to the divorce angle, but no good reason why it should.  

NEW YORK TIMES Film Review - January 15, 1935
- by Frank S. Nugent
- submitted by Barry Martin
The operatic cycle, set in motion by the extraordinary success of Grace Moore's "One Night of Love," continues its lyric progress in "Enter Madame," the new film at the RKO Palace. This latest attempt to merge the cinema with the opera is developed along farce lines. The effort, while fairly entertaining, finds its players more animated than their dialogue.

Elissa Landi, handsomely gowned and possessed of an accent and a temperament, appears as Lisa della Robbia, toast of opera lovers. Cary Grant is cast as Gerald Fitzgerald, the smitten admirer who marries the prima donna and soon finds himself merely a part of her retinue and custodian of the Pekingese, Toto. Preferring divorce to dishonor, he sets the legal wheels in motion and even has his eyes upon Mrs. Fitzgerald, the second, when the singer relents, upsets her rival's wedding plans and promises to reform. The ending is contrived to leave the beholder with the notion that Mr. Fitzgerald may soon be back in the marital dog-house.

Although the theme is not exactly novel and its execution much short of brilliant, it has the advantages of a swift pace, general good-humor and the presence of a hard-working cast. Elliot Nugent's direction may be criticized chiefly for the film's sudden fall from romantic comedy into the frothiest of farce climaxes. From grand opera to such business as crawling under tables and riding in dumbwaiters is too great a stride to be taken, as the film takes it, in one swift step.

On the musical side of the picture's ledger are Miss Landi's (actually the voice is Nina Koshetz's) and Richard Bonelli's rendition of arias from "La Tosca," "Cavalleria Rusticana" and "Il Trovatore," and a quartet, including Mr. Grant, singing the Anvil Chorus from "Il Trovatore." The Los Angeles Opera Chorus joins in the choral accompaniment. These may be listed as definite assets, but should not be overemphasized. "Enter Madame" is still just a farce with music.  

Review: 
- by Kathy Fox
ENTER MADAM is Cary Grant's 18th film and his only one with Elissa Landi and directed by Elliott Nugent.  This film was released on January 4, 1935, about thirteen weeks before Grant's divorce from his first wife, Virginia Cherrill.  They were married on February 9 or 10, 1934, at Caxton Hall Registry in Westminster.  This film was originally to have starred Jeannette MacDonald as Lisa Della Robbia, and when she bowed out of the picture, Elissa Landi was gotten; however her voice was dubbed by Nina Koshetz.  Grant plays Gerald Fitzgerald and Landi plays Lisa Della Robbia, a temperamental opera singer.  They fall in love and are married, but Della Robbia is so involved with her career that she lets her marriage slide and Fitzgerald takes a boat back to America to await the end of her tour, which keeps getting longer.  He finally gets fed up and sends Lisa a telegram stating that he plans to get a divorce and marry Flora Preston.  However, Lisa is still in love with Gerald and unwilling to give him up, surprises him when she comes to his New York apartment to win her husband back, "Enter Madam."  They finally rekindle their love for one another and escape the press through the dumbwaiter, "Exit Madam."  This is another of Cary's cute little early films.  This was Landi's film, and Grant did not have much to do but look good in his tuxedo, which he does very well. 


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