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Madonna of the Seven Moons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Madonna of the Seven Moons
UK promotional poster
Directed byArthur Crabtree
Screenplay byRoland Pertwee
Based onThe Madonna of Seven Moons
by Margery Lawrence
Produced byR. J. Minney
CinematographyJack E. Cox
Edited byLito Carruthers
Music byHans May
Distributed byEagle-Lion Distributors
Release dates
22 January 1945
1947 (France)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box officeover £1 million[3] or over £300,000[2]
675,949 admissions (France)[4]

Madonna of the Seven Moons is a 1945 British drama film directed by Arthur Crabtree for Gainsborough Pictures and starring Phyllis Calvert, Stewart Granger and Patricia Roc. The film was produced by Rubeigh James Minney,[5] with cinematography from Jack Cox and screenplay by Roland Pertwee. It was one of the Gainsborough melodramas.

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A buried trauma from the past holds the key to the disappearance of a respectable married woman. Maddalena has a dual personality which leads her to forsake her husband and daughter, to flee to the house of the Seven Moons in Florence as the mistress of a jewel thief.[6]


Calvert playing Roc’s glamorous mother was only four months her senior in real life.


The film was based on a 1931 novel by Margery Lawrence.[7]

Film rights were bought by Gaumont British in 1938 who wanted to turn it into a vehicle for Renée Saint-Cyr,[8][9] as part of an ambitious slate for Gainsborough in 1939.[10] However the advent of World War II disrupted these and plans to film Madonna were put on the backburner.

The project was re-activated in 1944 following the box office success of The Man in Grey and Fanny by Gaslight.[11] Vernon Sewell said he was going to direct A Place of One's Own but was told to do Madonna of the Seven Moons instead and refused.[12] The movie wound up being the first film directed by Arthur Crabtree. He had spent many years previously working for Gainsborough as a cinematographer. Phyllis Calvert later recalled:

Arthur was a very good cinematographer, but there weren't enough directors, and so people who were scriptwriters or were behind the camera were suddenly made directors. It wasn't that Crabtree was an unsatisfactory director, just that we found ourselves very satisfactory – we did it ourselves. But the fact that he had been a lighting cameraman was wonderful for us, because he knew exactly how to photograph us.[13]

Academic Sue Harper later wrote an analysis of the film, where she attributed producer R.J. Minney as being the main creative force behind it.[14] The story, which is supposed to be based on real case histories, begins with a rather explicit suggestion of interference or indecent assault on a devout, convent-educated young woman that causes her to develop split personalities.

Filmink dubbed Kent the "back up Margaret Lockwood".[15]


Box Office

The movie was very popular at the British box office, being one of the most seen films of its year.[16][17][18] In 1946 readers of the Daily Mail voted the film their third most popular British movie from 1939 to 1945.[19]

According to Kinematograph Weekly the 'biggest winners' at the box office in 1945 Britain were The Seventh Veil, with "runners up" being (in release order), Madonna of the Seven Moons, Old Acquaintance, Frenchman's Creek, Mrs Parkington, Arsenic and Old Lace, Meet Me in St Louis, A Song to Remember, Since You Went Away, Here Come the Waves, Tonight and Every Night, Hollywood Canteen, They Were Sisters, The Princess and the Pirate, The Adventures of Susan, National Velvet, Mrs Skefflington, I Live in Grosvenor Square, Nob Hill, Perfect Strangers, Valley of Decision, Conflict and Duffy's Tavern. British "runners up" were They Were Sisters, I Live in Grosvenor Square, Perfect Strangers, Madonna of the Seven Moons, Waterloo Road, Blithe Spirit, The Way to the Stars, I'll Be Your Sweetheart, Dead of Night, Waltz Time and Henry V.[20]

It was the only British film among the ten most popular films of 1946 in Australia.[21]

In Latin America the film earned $282,367.[22]

Stewart Granger later called the film "terrible".[23]

US release

British films had not traditionally performed well in the US but screenings to US soldiers in Britain led J Arthur Rank to feel that Madonna of the Seven Moons would do well there.[24]

The movie was the first of a series of Rank films distributed in the US by Universal.[25]


  1. ^ Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48  By Robert Murphy p 55
  2. ^ a b Kinematograph Weekly. 19 April 1945. {{cite magazine}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "No title". Western Mail. Vol. 61, no. 3, 207. Western Australia. 14 February 1946. p. 26. Retrieved 9 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ Box office information for Stewart Granger films in France at Box Office Story
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945)". Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  7. ^ "NOVELS REVIEWED". The Chronicle. Adelaide. 10 December 1931. p. 84. Retrieved 13 June 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Miriam Hopkins Will Star in 'Trailer Romance'--James Ellinson Also in Cast PRISON BREAK' AT RIALTO Lloyd Confirms Reports That He Plans to Sponsor Films Starring W. C. Fields Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.". New York Times. 12 July 1938. p. 15.
  9. ^ "DAD & DAVE Come to Town". The Mercury. Hobart, Tasmania. 3 September 1938. p. 5. Retrieved 13 June 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "BRITISH FILMS OF 1939". Western Mail. Vol. 59, no. 2, 742. Western Australia. 15 September 1938. p. 30. Retrieved 9 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ C. A. LEJEUNE (16 July 1944). "LONDON'S MOVIE NEWS: Newsreels Prove Strongest Draw -- 'The Way Ahead' an Apt War Film". New York Times. p. X3.
  12. ^ Fowler, Roy (8 July 1994). "Vernon Sewell". British Entertainment History Project.
  13. ^ Brian MacFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Methuen 1997 p 110
  14. ^ Madonna of the Seven Moons Harper, SueAuthor InformationView Profile. History Today; London45.8 (Aug 1995): 47.
  15. ^ Vagg, Stephen (29 January 2020). "Why Stars Stop Being Stars: Margaret Lockwood". Filmink.
  16. ^ "Britons Prefer Their Own Films To US Productions". The Argus. No. 31, 030. Melbourne. 12 February 1946. p. 5. Retrieved 9 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  17. ^ "GAUMONT-BRITISH PICTURE: INCREASED NET PROFIT". The Observer. London (UK). 4 November 1945. p. 3.
  18. ^ Robert Murphy, Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48, p 207
  19. ^ "BRITISH POLL". The West Australian. Perth. 26 April 1946. p. 13. Retrieved 4 March 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
  20. ^ Lant, Antonia (1991). Blackout : reinventing women for wartime British cinema. Princeton University Press. p. 232.
  21. ^ "Australia's Favorite Stars And Movies of the Year". The Mail. Vol. 35, no. 1, 806. Adelaide. 4 January 1947. p. 9 (Sunday Magazine). Retrieved 9 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  22. ^ "Rank's $1,000,000,000 a Yr from SA". Variety. 21 May 1947. p. 5.
  23. ^ Brian MacFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Methuen 1997 p 230
  24. ^ "Several Major British Films Ready for U.S. Audiences, Says Rank: Producer Says His Organization Has Tested Its Pictures on American Soldiers in England". Wall Street Journal. New York. 5 June 1945. p. 3.
  25. ^ "IRENE DUNNE SET TO PORTRAY ANNA: Reconsiders Declining of Role in 'King of Slam' Picture-- Two Films Here Today Of Local Origin Universal, Rank Extend Deal Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.". New York Times. 1 November 1945. p. 21.

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This page was last edited on 6 April 2023, at 11:44
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