The movie references

 Posted by on July 24, 2009 at 12:24 am  Film, Season 1, Season 2
Jul 242009

Nathaniel at the Film Experience Blog says:

I’m tempted to do a blog series on all the movie references in Mad Men. But then I’m always tempted to do massive projects and I’m rarely afforded the time.

Here’s your head start, Nathaniel:

Ep 1:01 Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Ep 1:02 Ladies Room
Wizard of Oz

Ep 1:06 Babylon
The Red Balloon (This is open for interpretation/debate. It’s a visual metaphor; never outwardly alluded to. There is a red balloon that the family carries home and into the children’s bedroom at the end of the day.)
The Best of Everything

Ep 1:07 Red in the Face
The Naked and the Dead

Ep 1:08 The Hobo Code
42nd Street

Added: Ep 1.09 Shoot
Three Coins in the Fountain

Ep 1:10 Long Weekend
La Dolce Vita
The Apartment
Added: Pillow Talk, Midnight Lace

Ep 1:11 Indian Summer
A Place In the Sun (Rachel’s sister Barbara refers to a movie where the mistress of the married man gets pregnant and he kills her.)

Ep 2:01 For Those Who Think Young
BUtterfield 8
Added: Gone With the Wind, Pinocchio

Ep 2:03 the Benefactor
Gentleman’s Agreement
A Place in the Sun (again)
Added: Gone With the Wind, Pinocchio

Ep 2:05: The New Girl
La Notte
Added: Cape Fear

Ep 2:06: Maidenform
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Added: Ep 2.09: Six Month Leave
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

Ep 2:10: The Inheritance
multiple visual references to Hitchcock

Ep 2:11: The Jet Set
multiple visual and thematic cinematic references, especially Antonioni


  24 Responses to “The movie references”

  1. And what about all the Broadway shows that also became movies:

    My Fair Lady
    A Funny Thing Happened…
    Bye Bye Birdie

    and, kinda, sorta, indirectly…okay, I'm stretching:

    How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

    Joan says something about Midnight Lace in Ep. 1:10, Long Weekend

    Jimmy Barrett mentions The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit in Six Months Leave

    Lois says something about Don going to see Pinocchio in The Benefactor

    Sal mentions Bambi in Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

    Not only are there multiple Hitchcock-style visuals, a lot of Hitchcock's thematic elements and motifs have found there way onto Mad Men, as well:

    Dual/secret identities

    And, while not actually mentioned on the show, Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Marnie might as well be "special" Mad Men episodes.

  2. Betty herself could be a Hitchcock element, she definitely fits his fascination with icy blondes.

    People keep talking about a Mad Men book club, there could be a film club as well.

  3. I purposely skipped the things that were not yet movies, and that includes Bambi, which was, at that point, a novel only.

    But you've totally got me on Midnight Lace and Gray Flannel Suit; I'll add those.

  4. Also there was a Gone With the Wind reference when Sally wants to go riding. Betty says something along the lines of "remember what happened to the little girl in Gone With the Wind?"

  5. I was going to say, I feel like everything involving Betty is one big wink at Hitchcock…she reminds me so much of Kim Novak's ice queen in Vertigo.I haven't seen Marnie but people refernce that a lot in regards to her as well.

  6. In "Shoot" BEtty and Francine reference "Three Coins in the Fountain" in regards to Betty's European modeling period.

  7. Another good one, portias.

  8. This is a great list, I've wanted one like it for quite a while.

    You know, A Place in The Sun was my first guess for that movie too, but in it Monty Cleft kills Shelly Winters, his pregnant (ex?)GIRLFRIEND because he wants to leave her for Liz Taylor, his rich girlfriend. He's not actually married, I don't think.

    I'm gonna see if I can dredge up a couple more titles, I feel as if there are some not named that are just edging into my consciousness.

  9. The scene where Betty comes slowly down the stairs to meet Don on Valentine's Day in Season 2, Episode 1 reminds me so much of the scenes that linger slowly on Kim Novak's profile in "Vertigo." Sort of happy-creepy-adoring.

  10. I purposely skipped the things that were not yet movies, and that includes Bambi, which was, at that point, a novel only.

    Disney's Bambi was released in 1942.

  11. Disney’s Bambi was released in 1942.

    And re-released every seven years or so, no less TV airings.

  12. Oh, duh. Sorry. But they said "book of the century" or something, so it referenced the book, not the movie.

    But shoot me for getting it wrong, truly.

  13. Midge's apartment (Smoke Gets In Your Eyes) reminded me of Holly Golightly's in "Breakfast at Tiffany's".
    Bobbie and Don's get-together at Sardi's reminded me of the happy-hours get-togethers of Hope Lange and her friends in the "Best of Everything".
    I hope that the storyline stays in NYC.

  14. Peggy's decision to give up her baby reminded me of Stella Dallas, the Barbara Stanwyck film.

    Don's car crash was something like Lana Turner's in The Bad and the Beautiful.

    The Pete/Trudy Campbell relationship and apartment brings to mind The Group.

  15. There was a reference to Exodus in "Shoot." Don is reading the book and someone mentions it's about to made into a major movie staring Paul Newman.

  16. Brenda, Don's crash scene didn't have nearly as much flailing and screaming and bouncing around without actually touching the wheel:

    But that reminds me that the Kirk Douglass' Jonathan Shields reminds me A LOT of Don Draper.

  17. Oops, embedding didn't show up, here's the link to the crash scene:

  18. […] Added: Nathaniel at The Film Experience is doing a series based on the list I provided. […]

  19. Trudi also chastises Pete for seeing Cape Fear three times in one of the Season Two episodes.

  20. By the way, Don may have actually seen Pinocchio — it was rereleased in 1962. Mr. Weiner does do his homework.

    Don reminds me of a more brooding version of Binx Bolling in The Moviegoer, which elevated going to the movies to an existential search for meaning. The book came out in 1961, fittingly.

    Thanks so much for the site. It sates the appetite while I wait for Sunday.

  21. Thanks, Old Fashioned. It was The New Girl, after the fertility test results.

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