Madame (1961 film)
|Produced by||Maleno Malenotti|
Ennio De Concini
Angelo Francesco Lavagnino (original music)|
Umberto Giordano (opera)
|Distributed by||Embassy Pictures (US)|
104 minutes (USA)
108 minutes (Italy-DVD)
Madame Sans-Gêne is a 1961 Spanish-Italian-French film co-production, filmed in Eastmancolor and Technirama, and distributed in the U.S. by Embassy Pictures. The film was directed by Christian-Jaque and adapted from the 1893 play by Victorien Sardou and Émile Moreau.
Madame Sans-Gêne has a legendary history in France. It is based on the life of Catherine Hübscher, born in Goldbach-Altenbach (Haut-Rhin) in 1753. She started off as a laundress who used to wash and iron Napoleon's clothes when he was a common corporal. She married François Joseph Lefebvre, an Army sergeant who became Marshal of France and was later elevated by Napoleon I to the rank of Duke of Danzig. She was known by the nickname of Madame Sans-Gêne, (literally Mrs No Embarrassment) because of her behaviour, free speech and lack of proper manners at court.
The play by Sardou and Moreau was extremely popular and was serialised in novel form by Raymond Lepelletier.
The role was played on stage by Réjane, in France, England and New York and who also brought it to the screen twice, in 1900 and 1911. In 1924, silent screen star Gloria Swanson played the title role and it was an international box-office success. In 1941, it was played by Arletty. In 1945 it was made into an Argentinian film. The story was also the subject of the opera Madame Sans-Gêne by Umberto Giordano which had its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in 1915.
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