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Young Raymond Floriot, following in his father Louis Floriot's professional footsteps, he now France's attorney general, has just passed the bar exam. Raymond's first case, appointed to him by the courts, is a murder case. His pitiful and poor Jane Doe client, who refers to herself only as Madame X, admits to killing the scoundrel of a man named Laroque, but won't disclose why or in turn defend herself in court. Raymond knows nothing of her past, which includes once being a woman of class, married to man of prestige. But that marriage ended because he treated her without love, which resulted in her leaving him for another man, who in turn passed away shortly thereafter. Her first marriage produced a son, who her husband refused to let her see. Her son never knew she was alive, he being told by his father that she died. The consequence of his action left Madame X on a downward path where she never found love. Now, in turn, she hopes her silence will protect the one that she really ... Written by
Chatterton and Stone are great, but the direction seemed mediocre.
More of a curio, this was reportedly the first MGM film to have a microphone follow the actors (on a fishing pole) at the suggestion of director Lionel Barrymore. Maybe that's why he got an Oscar nomination. Surely not for directing the photographer or the actors. The direction seemed so devoid of creativity it became obtrusive: a static camera that refused to follow the actors. If an actor moved, it jumped to a two-shot. Ruth Chatterton, however, is excellent as the long-suffering mother who sacrifices herself to prevent harm to the reputation of her son, who defends her in a murder case without knowing she is his mother! And Lewis Stone, who never gives a bad performance, is also excellent as the man she abandoned. It's worth a look for the acting.
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