Madonna of the Seven Moons

Madonna of the Seven Moons

UK promotional poster
Directed by Arthur Crabtree
Produced by R.J. Minney
Screenplay by Roland Pertwee
Based on The Madonna of Seven Moons
by Margery Lawrence
Music by Hans May
Cinematography Jack E. Cox
Edited by Lito Carruthers
Release dates
22 January 1945
1947 (France)
Running time
110 min
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £125,000[1]
Box office 675,949 admissions (France)[2]

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,[3] with cinematography from Jack Cox and screenplay by Roland Pertwee. It was one of the Gainsborough melodramas.


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.[4]



The film was based on a novel by Margery Lawrence which had been published in 1931.[5]

Film rights were bought by Gaumont British in 1938 who wanted to turn it into a vehicle for Renée Saint-Cyr,[6][7] but that movie was never made.

Plans to film it were re-activated in 1944 following the box office success of The Man in Grey and Fanny by Gaslight.[8] It was 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 mad 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.[9]


The movie was very popular at the British box office.[10][11] In 1946 readers of the Daily Mail voted the film their third most popular British movie from 1939 to 1945.[12]

Stewart Granger later called the film "terrible".[13]

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.[14]

The movie was the first of a series of Rank films distributed in the US by Universal.[15]


  1. Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48 By Robert Murphy p 55
  2. Box office information for Stewart Granger films in France at Box Office Story
  4. "Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945)". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  5. "NOVELS REVIEWED.". Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954). Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 10 December 1931. p. 84. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  6. 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 (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 12 July 1938: 15.
  7. "DAD & DAVE Come to Town.". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954). Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 3 September 1938. p. 5. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  8. LONDON'S MOVIE NEWS: Newsreels Prove Strongest Draw -- 'The Way Ahead' an Apt War Film By C.A. LEJEUNE. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 16 July 1944: X3.
  9. Brian MacFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Methuen 1997 p 110
  10. GAUMONT-BRITISH PICTURE: INCREASED NET PROFIT The Observer (1901- 2003) [London (UK)] 4 November 1945: 3.
  11. Robert Murphy, Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48, p 207
  12. "BRITISH POLL.". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 26 April 1946. p. 13. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  13. Brian MacFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Methuen 1997 p 230
  14. 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 (1923 - Current file) [New York, N.Y] 5 June 1945: 3.
  15. 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 (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 1 November 1945: 21.
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