Esther Clay, wife of District Attorney John Clay and mother of attorney Bob Clay, is having an affair with Jack Keene. Scorned by him Esther kills Jack. Bob comes to her defense and ... See full summary »
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J. Farrell MacDonald
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Edward Everett Horton,
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Esther Clay, wife of District Attorney John Clay and mother of attorney Bob Clay, is having an affair with Jack Keene. Scorned by him Esther kills Jack. Bob comes to her defense and confesses to the shooting. The father prosecutes the son who receives a life imprisonment sentence. Jack Keene's butler Druggett knows the truth and blackmails Esther. Bob's girlfriend Peg Harper summons John Clay to the scene... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Compared to most of the big studio films of 1932 (say, Red Dust from MGM or even The Mummy from Universal) this looks and sounds a lot more primitive like some of the early sound efforts from three years earlier. The actors are just a little too emphatic with their line deliveries and issue all of the dialogue like proclamations. It engenders a feeling of something from another world that is simply not quite right.
That said the film does offer some compensations. Frank Strayer always directs with a sure hand and his 1930s films include some good low budget fantasy works like The Devil Bat (1933), Death from a Distance (1935) and Condemned to Live (1935). The same stylistic treatment is evident here with careful compositions and at times powerful closeups.
The story is mostly about a disreputable wife who cheats on her husband, commits murder and allows an innocent person to be jailed for her crimes. It contains some of the elements of pre-code films including frank admissions of adultery but also the later restrictive practice of ensuring that all who do wrong are punished.
Nevertheless, once past the stilted acting this proved to be a brief but memorable film and worthy of rediscovery.
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