The video was directed by David Fincher and filmed in April 1989 at Culver Studios in Culver City, California. It was inspired by the Fritz Lang classic film Metropolis. Also note, that the statement at the end of the music video “Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind.” is also derived from the classic film Metropolis… There you read the following “Her theme is that the heart must be mediator between the head (the planners) and the hands (the workers).” The video marked the first appearance of the Shep Pettibone remix of the song. Its budget of $5 million made it the most expensive music video in history at the time it was made (it is currently the third most expensive of all time). “Express Yourself” had its world-premiere on May 17, 1989 on MTV. The video portrays her as a glamorous lady and chained masochist, with muscular men acting as her workers. In the end, she picks one of them to be her date. Madonna mentioned jokingly in a 1990 BBC interview that the main theme of the video and the cat metaphor represents that “Pussy rules the world.”
In Madonna ‘talking’: Madonna in her own words, she commented about the development of the video. “This one I had the most amount of input. I oversaw everything—the building of the sets, everyone’s costumes, I had meetings with make-up and hair and the cinematographer, everybody. Casting, finding the right cat—just every aspect. Kind of like making a little movie. We basically sat down and just threw out all every idea we could possibly conceive of and of all the things we wanted. All the imagery we wanted—and I had a few set ideas, for instance the cat and the idea of Metropolis. I definitely wanted to have that influence, that look on all the men—the workers, diligently, methodically working away.” She added that the idea of the cat licking the milk and then pour it over, was the director’s. “It’s great but believe me I fought him on that. I didn’t want to do it. I thought it’s just so over the top and silly and kind of cliched, an art student or a film student’s kind of trick. I’m glad that I gave in to him.” –Wikipedia
David Leo Fincher (born August 28, 1962) is an American music video and film director known for his dark and stylish portraits of the human experience, particularly Fight Club (film) and Se7en.
Born in Denver, Colorado, Fincher was raised in Marin County, California. He moved to Ashland, Oregon in his teens where he graduated from Ashland High School.
Inspired by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Fincher began making movies at age eight with an 8 mm camera. Filmmaking seemed the perfect outlet for a kid who could spend all day drawing and loved to make sculptures, take pictures and tape-record. Fincher eschewed the film school route, getting a job loading cameras and doing other hands-on work for John Korty’s Korty Films. He next got a job at Industrial Light and Magic in 1980 with his first screen credit being for Return of the Jedi, and stayed until 1984. He left ILM to direct a dark commercial for the American Cancer Society, a grim hint of things to come, showing… read more