A cavalcade of English life from New Year's Eve 1899 until 1933 seen through the eyes of well-to-do Londoners Jane and Robert Marryot. Amongst events touching their family are the Boer War,... See full summary »
French country girl Madelon falls for artist Larry, who leaves her after she becomes pregnant. She finds help from jewel thief Carlo, but he commits suicide when the police try to arrest him. Madelon is arrested and receives a ten year term in prison for assisting him in his profession. To support her son, who does not know that she's been in prison, she becomes a street walker, allowing him to attend medical school. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
According to 'When the Lion Roars,' Irving Thalberg and his producers were previewing films one night and he asked to see this one. Told it was hopeless, he asked to put it on anyway. After watching it, he remarked that it wasn't bad; the main thing to do was change the last seven minutes. Re-takes were done and Helen Hayes went on to win the Oscar for the part. See more »
You know, it's the queerest thing. When I was a little girl, Father Matthew used to say to us children, "You pay for everything - everything in this life." And last night when we were dancing, I thought of him, and I laughed to myself and said, "What an old fool you are, Father Matthew..." But he was right. And I'm paying.
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The consummate Helen Hayes distinguishes this "fallen woman" film which would be only okay without her. The story resembles MADAME X, especially in the relationship between disgraced mother and clueless son. Starting as a farm girl in Normandy smitten with an American student (Neil Hamilton), Hayes progresses (or declines) to washerwoman, unwed mother, mistress to a wealthy crook (Lewis Stone), convict, high-class prostitute, streetwalker, aged derelict. She gets to play the spectrum of human emotions and vary her appearance from homely-wholesome to high glamour to harridan, from supreme confidence to abject humility. And she does it all with flying colors. Just as a study in good acting, this is worth a look. If anyone deserved an Oscar that year, it was she. And she got it.
The representations of prostitution are blatant, but no more so than in many other films of this period before the 1934 censorship clamp-down.
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