Madame Sans-Gêne
by Christian-Jacque


Italy - December 22, 1961 - Madame Sans Gene - 103'
West Germany - March 23, 1962 - Madame Sans Gêne / Ungezähmte Catherine -  100'
(Madrid) - April 6, 1962 - Madame Sans Gene - 98' (attendance: 136,511)
France (Paris, Gaumont-Palace) - May 25, 1962 - Madame Sans-Gêne - 97'
USA (Canoga Park, CA, Valley West Theater) - February 21, 1963 - Madame - 104'

French poster American poster Spanish DVD German poster


Paris, August 1792: During the revolution, Caterina the laundress, known as Madame Sans-Gene, falls in love with sergeant Léfèvre, who is under the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte. They marry and when Léfèvre is transferred, Caterina follows him through many campaigns as camp cook; finally she arrives at court when Napoleon, having become Emperor, names Léfèvre Duke of Danzig. But during her first appearance at court Caterina (who not without reason is called Madame Sans-Gene, that is, Lady Uninhibited) clashes with Napoleon’s sisters, using language which is too royalist for their liking. The Emperor imposes a divorce on Léfèvre, but Caterina confronts him, reminds him of times past, and manages to keep her husband who realizes he would renounce even a throne for her. (Enrico Lancia)
Story: play of the same name by Emile Moreau and Victorien Sardou.


Cosmopolitan Film Studio, Tirrenia (Italy)
Castiglioncello (Italy)


Sophia Loren (Catherine Huebscher)
Robert Hossein (François Lefèvre)
Julien Bertheau (Napoleon)
Marina Berti (Elisa Bonaparte)
Carlo Giuffré (Gerolamo Bonaparte)


Henri Jeanson, Ennio de Concini, Jean Ferry, Franco Solinas, Christian-Jacque
Roberto Gerardi (Technicolor, Technirama)
Costume design:
Marcel Escoffier, Itala Scandariato for Casa d’Arte Firenze
Still Photographers:
Pierluigi Praturlon, Alfred Eisenstadt, Klaus Collignon
Makeup Artist:
Giuseppe Annunziata
Maleno Malenotti for GE.S.I. Cinematografia
c.c. Champion (Rome) / Ciné Alliance (Paris) / Agata Films (Madrid)


Sophia dubs her own voice for the Italian version.

Most of the scenes are shot at the Cosmopolitan Film Studio - which belongs to Sophia and producer Maleno Malenotti - where Pellegrini d'amore, seven years before, was filmed. This time Sophia does not stay in the beach resort village and drives her Rolls Royce back and forth everyday.

Sophia's brother-in-law-to-be, Romano Mussolini, is the village's touristic attraction during the summer as he plays piano in a night club. Sophia does not attend.

Considered too commercial for art theaters and too tedious for mainstream audiences, Madame's American release in an English-dubbed version does not get good reviews and is pulled out of the theaters after only a few weeks.

The film is distributed in the USA by Joe Levine's company Embassy.


"Sophia is the most prodigious actress I have ever directed in all my career. She is undoubtedly the greatest actress in existence."

"As the lusty Parisian laundress who washes Napoleon's shirts when he is just the "little corporal", then marries one of his favorite officers and rises to high station with him while never losing her washwoman ways, Miss Loren breezes through it, sassy, vulgar and gay, squabbling with Napoleon's haughty sisters and flirting with the men. It is a straight vehicle for her appearance, and she rides it luxuriously."
Bosley Crowther, New York Times, 21 mar 1963

"The part, perfectly suited to Miss Loren, shows both her comic and dramatic talents and makes the character of the outspoken and
uninhabited laundress come to life."
The Valley News, 22 feb 1963

"Whatever it may lack the Paramount's latest feature, "Madame", has an unbeatable asset in its star Sophia Loren. She is pleasantly animated,
so lovely to look at (especially in color) and so adroit a comedienne that one almost forgives a lamentable, inept job of dubbing an
English sound track."
Theresa Loeb Cone, Oakland Tribune, 17 may 1963

"Le buste de Sophia Loren, épanoui en toute liberté républicaine dans son corsage très échancré de blanchisseuse, est à la fois la vedette et le symbole de cette fresque para-historique de Christian-Jacque.
Robert Chazal, France-Soir, 29 may 1962

"Sophia Loren interprète avec une joyeuse effronterie l'héroïne la moins complexée du monde, Catherine Hebscher. son courage d'actrice est exemplaire (puisqu'elle a refusé de se laisser doubler dans notre langue, son accent napolitain ne gêne presque pas.
Louis Chauvet, Le Figaro, 29 may 1962

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