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The False Madonna (1931)

A woman who is a member of a gang of con artists impersonates the mother of a wealthy blind man; she comes to feel a true motherly love for the young man, and refuses to try to cheat him.

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Dr. Ed Marcy (as William Boyd)
...
Grant Arnold
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Phillip Bellows
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Charles D. Brown ...
Peter Angel (as Chas. D. Brown)
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Storyline

A woman who is a member of a gang of con artists impersonates the mother of a wealthy blind man; she comes to feel a true motherly love for the young man, and refuses to try to cheat him.

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

5 December 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Falsa Madona  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was chosen for the grand opening of the Paramount Theatre in Oakland CA on 16 December 1931, featuring a gala premiere attended by Kay Francis and costars Tearle, Brown, Gateson, and Boyd. See more »

Soundtracks

"Roamin' in the Gloamin' (uncredited)
Written by Harry Lauder
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User Reviews

 
Kay Francis Scores Again
29 April 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Odd and moving film that stars Kay Francis as a grifter who poses as a dead woman to cheat the dead woman's son out of his money.

The film starts out as a bus races alongside a train on a rainy night. It seems Francis and her fellow cheats (William "Stage" Boyd, Marjorie Gateson, and Charles D. Brown) have been thrown out of a hotel and must get out of town. On the train Boyd (a defrocked doctor) is summoned to the room of a dying woman. As she blurts out her story of abandoning her husband and son 14 years before, Boyd hatches the plan for Francis to impersonate the woman and get money out of the kid.

Their research shows that after the woman abandoned them, the father and infant son moved from Chicago to Long Island. None of the family friends or servants had any connection with the woman, so it becomes plausible that Francis swoop in and get money.

Francis has misgivings and wants to quit the rackets but agrees to this one last scheme. When she arrives at the mansion she is greeted by the boy's guardian (Conway Tearle) and learns that the boy (John Breeden) is ill. She is accepted as the mother (or is she?) and after a week everything is resolved—Hollywood fashion.

Francis and Breeden are quite good together, and Francis gets to sing in her low throaty voice. Tearle is solid as the guardian, and Boyd (not the William Boyd of Hopalong Cassidy fame) makes a nice snarky crook.

What starts out as a typical pre-Coder about conniving thieves turns, thanks to Kay Francis, into a surprisingly moving film about regrets and redemption.


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