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Gregory La Cava
Showgirl Sally meets young playboy Leonard St. John; they fall in love and are secretly married. When Leonard's father discovers this he sets out to break them apart, and following a bitter row, Leonard kills himself, leaving Sally to pick up the pieces of her life. Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
This is a close cousin of the classic (and often-filmed) "Madame X", but with some minor plot differences that make it worth watching. Fans of Lana's 1966 "Madame X" and the other versions may be curious about its predecessors and similar movies. In this one, Dunne gives a warm, heartfelt (and as is often the case with her) a startlingly contemporary and comfortable performance. Her work in the '30's tends to transcend the span of time and come off fresh now, SEVENTY YEARS later!! When her character ages, this quality is almost totally lost as she is buried in make-up and unnecessarily old-ladyish garb, wig etc.... (The most her character can conceivably be is 50 or so, but she looks like Bette Davis in "A Pocketful of Miracles"!!) Her mannerisms take over until it appears that Molly Shannon from SNL has stepped in to play the part! However, her early scenes, where her romance blossoms with the rich young man who loves her, are the best. She glows. Her scene with her little baby boy is also worth the price of admission alone. The child is adorable and the scene is spontaneous and beautiful. Like most of these tales, the deck is stacked WAY against the leading lady and it gets to be almost ridiculous, but the film is most definitely worth watching as a curio. The screenwriters Hackett and Goodrich were often called upon to translate plays and books to the screen. This was their first try and they do a decent, if occasionally trite and contrived job (this was a different era of film making, though.) It is laughable to think that Irene Dunne has no Academy Award, yet Paltrow, Tomei and Sorvino do..... Crazy!
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