Mayflower Madam (1987) starring Candice Bergen, Chris Sarandon, Caitlin Clarke, Jim Antonio, Debra Rogers, Leslie Hardy, Victoria Loving directed by Lou Antonio Movie Review

Mayflower Madam (1987)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Candice Bergen in Mayflower Madam (1987)

Missing the Madam

Hands up all those outside of America who have heard of Sydney Biddle Barrows who became known as the Mayflower Madam. I know my hand isn't up and I am sure there are many others who are looking blank at the mention of this name. But Sydney Biddle Barrows became infamous partly because she was a descendant of one those who arrived in America on the Mayflower and also because in 1984 her high class escort service was closed down. So basically we have a woman with a prominent name done for running an escort service and that could have been an interesting drama but in the end "Mayflower Madam" ends up surprisingly dull and not as thrilling or inspiring, yes I did say inspiring, as it could have been.

"Mayflower Madam" starts in 1984 with a scene where Sydney returns to her office/home just after it has been raided by cops. What follows takes us back to six years earlier where we meet Sydney at the Mayflower ball and then see her sacked from her sales job because of a clash of opinions with her new superior. This is quickly followed by seeing the struggle to find work and ending up as a phone operator for a seedy back room escort service where the girls end up being beaten by violent coke head men and short paid by their seedy boss. All of which is just the set up to Sydney setting up her own high class escort agency called "Cachet" which ended up providing a service to some influential men before being shut down.

The thing is that rather than being a salacious look at the escort service which has an erotic edge is incredibly dull. Yes it tells us her story but in an extremely ordinary way and whilst I have never read the book on which "Mayflower Madam" is based it reportedly changes a few things. I wouldn't go as far to say it is a dirge some of it is interesting and occasionally we see an attractive woman in sexy lingerie but it certainly lacks energy and excitement.

Now what also is a shame is that ironically "Mayflower Madam" could have been an inspiring movie, sounds far fetched but it could have been. I do not mean inspiring about the escort service but inspiring about a woman who found getting a job impossible and so saw a niche for an exclusive business which treated its employees with respect. But that side fails to truly come across which is a shame because following the closure of cachet Sydney went on to become a successful consultant.

What this all boils down to is that "Mayflower Madam" ends up dull because it shows far too much restraint, not only when it comes to the escort service but also Sydney's business skills which unfortunately makes it dull.