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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
Helen Hayes is well worthy of the Oscar she won for her performance in this one. The role required her to play a young lover, single mother, wealthy socialite, prisoner, prostitute, and beaten-down old woman, and she did so brilliantly. I found her beautiful and a great actor, particularly at a time when overacting was the norm. The scene where she responds with a humorous puffy facial expression to a question about what someone is like is priceless. Her suggestions of lasciviousness using only her eyes are also great; while the movie is pre-Code and has a suggestive title, it's quite tame. We're all rooting for because she's been driven to such depths quite unfairly, and because she's made the incredible sacrifice of separating herself from her son, so that he can pursue being a doctor, unencumbered by her shame, which back then would have stopped him. It leads to a pretty syrupy ending, but was balanced for the most part, and the supporting cast is also strong.
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