MoMA Presents: Rowland V. Lee’s I Am Suzanne!

Jan 26–Feb 1, 2015


I Am Suzanne! 1933. USA. Directed by Rowland V. Lee. Courtesy Fox Film Corporation/Photofest

A truly unique, pre-Code musical romance set in Paris, I Am Suzanne! tells the tale of the titular dancer, star of a popular revue. Suzanne is managed by the controlling Baron—who views the girl as his cash cow—and adored by Tony, who works in a marionette theater near the music hall. When an injury sidelines the ingénue, the Baron casts her out and Tony steps in, nursing her back to health and teaching her how to be a puppeteer. The Surrealists would have had a field day with this film, from the uncanny similitude of humans and their puppet doppelgangers—veteran cinematographer Lee Garmes lights Lillian Harvey so that her face has the same bisque-like, smooth contours as her puppet twin—to scenes of puppet murder and a subsequent trial by marionettes, to an eccentric musical number in which Suzanne strips down to a risqué costume and sings about falling in love with a snowman—who later comes to life.

Organized by Anne Morra, Associate Curator, Department of Film.

Special thanks to Turner Classic Movies.

  • This film series is part of MoMA Presents.

    If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

    MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

    If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


    This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].