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Film / Madam Satan

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A divorce lawyer would have been cheaper than this.

Madam Satan is a 1930 musical comedy film, directed by Cecil B. DeMille.

The absurdly rich Angela and Bob Brooks (their house has a pipe organ!) are experiencing marital difficulties. Angela believes that being married means one has to settle into a life of responsible domesticity, while Bob, for his part, misses the madcap Angela of old and their former passion. Bob, as a result, has taken a mistress.

After finding out that her husband is cheating on her, Angela does not kick him in the balls and then head to Reno for a divorce. No, Angela comes up with an elaborate plan to seduce her husband and reignite the sparks in their marriage. A plan that involves a blimp, an elaborate masked ball on said blimp, and a masked Angela disguised as the scantily clad "Madam Satan". Really.

Typical of the sex farces that were a hallmark of The Pre-Code Era. Atypical of the rest of Cecil. B. DeMille's career, as in years to come he would move away from comedies like this one, in favor of making big-budged spectacles.



  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Martha the maid expressly tells Angela this, saying "You must make yourself so attractive to him that he won't want to leave you." Then she sings a song about it. Angela eventually follows up on this advice, appearing half-naked at the ball as Madam Satan and enchanting her husband.
  • Blatant Lies: Bob and Jimmy's pathetic lies when they claim that the woman identified in the newspaper as "Mrs. Brooks" is actually Jimmy's wife.
  • Body Paint: A party guest called "Miss Victory" appears to be mostly clothed in body paint.
  • Double Entendre: When a probing Angela asks Trixie's maiden name, Jimmy says "She hasn't been a maiden for a long time."
  • Establishing Character Moment: We learn all we need to know about Bob and his friend Jimmy when they show up at Bob's front door in the early morning, in tuxedos, drunk.
  • Advertisement:
  • Fanservice Extra: Lots of scantily clad ladies at the masquerade ball.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When praising Trixie to the crowd at the charity auction, Jimmy makes sure to mention "the roundness of her heels."
  • Gold Digger: Trixie is totally in it for the money, as she makes clear to the two dudes who are her partners in a vaudeville act.
  • Have a Gay Old Time:
    • It's supposed to be a joke based on Madame Satan's atrocious faux-French pronunciation of "Bob."
    Madame Satan: Au revoir, Boob!
    Bob: [irritated] Boob is right!
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: There's a shot of a bunch of men in a spa. A man says "I come here to get away from women! It's the only place where they don't horn in!" Cue Trixie in her parachute crashing through the skylight.
  • It's Raining Men: A most unlikely ending in which all the guests at the ball have to evacuate via parachute when the blimp is struck by lightning and loses its moorings.
  • Masquerade Ball: Jimmy stages an elaborate one on his blimp, which allows Angela to seduce Bob in her "Madam Satan" disguise.
  • The Mistress: Bob's girlfriend Trixie makes the strategic error of using a card with her address on it to leave a note for Bob.
  • Sexless Marriage: It would appear that Bob and Angela are no longer bonking.
    Bob: I crave warm affection, and all I get is frozen justice.
  • Sleeping Single: Not an enforced trope in 1930, so here notable as it indicates the passionless state of the Brooks marriage.
  • Splash of Color: The blimp sequence was originally filmed in two-strip Technicolor, but the footage has been lost and the existing print is all black-and-white.
  • Title Drop: "Madam Satan" is Angela's alter ego.
  • Two-Act Structure: The first part is a standard, somewhat dull 1930 comedy of manners. The second part gets a lot weirder, after they get on the blimp and all the weird costumes come out.
  • Verbal Irony: A lot of this when a frantically improvising Jimmy lies and tells Bob that the woman hidden under the blanket, who is actually Angela, is Jimmy's married girlfriend.
    Bill: Her husband must be a sap.
    Jimmy: Yes, yes he certainly is.
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: Angela finds out that Bob is cheating on her after reading a newspaper story about how "Mr. and Mrs. Brooks" were booked in night court for disorderly conduct.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Bob is having an affair with some girl named Trixie.

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