Sarah and Son (1930) Poster


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Ruth Chatterton Rises Above a Sudsy Plot!!!
kidboots8 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Ruth Chatterton was a wonderful actress who, although coming to movies at an older age (36), proved she could master most genres. In 1931 "Movie Fan" readers voted her the "Finest Actress on the Screen" and she was often referred to as the First Lady of the Screen (until Ann Harding came along). She scintillated in "Charming Sinners" and "The Laughing Lady", witty drawing room comedies that were all the rage in those early talkie days. She then returned to mother love tear-jerkers - in 1929 she had starred in MGM's "Madame X" and it had proved a big hit.

Sarah Storm (Ruth Chatterton) has ambitions to go on the stage and with hard work and determination she succeeds - and even drags her lazy, shiftless boyfriend, Jim (Fuller Mellish Jnr.), along with her. Just as things are looking brighter she gets word that her little sister has died and in a weak moment she agrees to marry Jim. With a little baby to feed, Jim has reverted to his lazy ways and is forever telling her to put the baby into a home - until Sarah is pushed to breaking point!!! When Jim goes to a family acquaintance to borrow money, the man expresses envy that Jim has a child - he and his wife have never been able to have children. A plan then hatches in Jim's drunken brain - he joins the Marines, but before he sails he sells the baby to the childless couple.

Four years later Sarah is entertaining wounded soldiers in a hospital when she finds Jim dying, but before he does he repents and tells her the name of the family - Ashmore - where he left the baby. When the family is traced they are adamant that the baby is theirs - Frederic March plays Howard Vanning, their lawyer, who over the years becomes suspicious that, maybe, Bobby isn't their son. Bobby (Phillipe De Lacy) is growing up extremely unhappy - his parents are over protective and have wrapped him in cotton wool. Sarah, meanwhile, has studied music and become a world class opera singer but she has never given up on her quest to find her son. Howard organises for Sarah to meet Bobby but the Ashmores, who know all too well that Bobby is not their son, substitute the maid's son, who is the same age, for the inspection. The real Bobby has run away and "thumbs" his way to his Uncle Howard's, who has just turned up with Sarah. The stage is set for a very teary ending, involving a speedboat accident and a near drowning.

Ruth Chatterton seemed a bit "all at sea" in the first half of the movie as the gauche immigrant girl, "Dutchy", who wants to better herself. She laid the accent on rather thick. The last half was better, when she was a world famous diva and a bit more refined, she seemed more at ease.She definitely did not play Sarah in a sentimental manner and the film was all the better for that. Fuller Mellish Jnr. , who died before this film was released, seemed to be typecast as playing detestable villains - in "Sarah and Son" and "Applause", 2 of his 3 films he played low lifes.

Highly Recommended.
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Statically melodramatic soaper of historical interest.
mark.waltz6 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Ruth Chatterton was one of those early talkie leading ladies who could play either sappy heroines or hard-luck heroines who either suffered or made people around them suffer. She's an Austrian immigrant who performs in vaudeville with her no good husband. When the husband disappears, selling their son into adoption, she spends years searching for him to find more heartbreak as she finds personal success as an opera singer. Fredric March plays the sympathetic attorney who tries to help her find her child. Chatterton's accent can be cloying at times, and the early static cinematography may be hard for people to stay interested the entire time. Having just gone down this territory in "Madame X", Chatterton tries to rise above the pathos of the material. She received an Oscar Nomination for this film, which I suspect that several years later would be considered dated and easily dismissed. March, on the verge of becoming a major cinematic star, has a thankless part, and Gilbert Emery seems like a silent movie villain as the no-good husband. There are enough lavish moments covering the period from pre-World War I to the present day, but the vaudeville sequences are rather sad. Chatterton is better when her accent starts to dwindle with time. Made up to be unrecognizable in the first half, she looks closer to her more familiar screen image as the film reaches its conclusion.
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Ripped from his mother's care
bkoganbing22 January 2014
The first half of the title role in Sarah And Son is played by Ruth Chatterton who got an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. The second part of the title is done by young Philippe DeLacy who plays her son who was untimely ripped from Chatterton by his father Fuller Melish who in his third of three pictures plays a no good rat of a husband.

Melish who died untimely right after Sarah And Son was finished actually sells their young kid off to a wealthy American family for money and he then promptly takes off. It's unfortunate he died because he had a bright future playing all kinds of cad roles. Chatterton is shattered by this, but she picks herself up and becomes a great opera star from her humble days in French music hall. She also finds out where her son is and sets her sights on his return.

Enter Fredric March in one of his early roles. He's the brother of Doris Lloyd who now has custody of DeLacy who naturally thinks she's his real mother. But March is also an attorney with a sense of justice and he kind of fancies Chatterton anyway.

Chatterton despite attempting a Fifi D'Orsay type French accent registers well as the distraught mother. So does March although the film is clearly Chatterton's. The film is melodramatic and dated and allowances should be made there.

Still for fans of Chatterton and March I recommend it.
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Wonderful early talkie with fine Chatterton performance
ngrim_27 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Despite it's early-talkie limitations, this film is really very good. It features Oscar nominee Ruth Chatterton and a pre-stardom Fredric March.

The film centers around Sarah Storm (Chatterton), a singer with a lowlife husband/boyfriend. When she tries to throw him out, he struggles with her, and she runs out. Just afterward, the neighbor's maid brings over their infant son. The lowlife husband gives the baby to a rich family.

Sarah finds him in a hospital and gets the family name out of him before being taken away. She goes to the family's lawyer, who happens to be the brother also. She fights for a chance to see the boy. While trying to gain access to the boy, a romance blossoms between her and the lawyer (March).

So seek it out if your interested, in my opinion, you won't be disappointed.
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