Director Joe May was so determined to make this a close remake of the German film Mazurka (1935) that he kept a print of "Mazurka" on the set and frequently ran sections of it, to the annoyance of the new film's cast. In addition to copying the German original shot-by-shot in many scenes, this film also reuses the original score and songs. See more »
I am happy to see that other members of this board have discovered this film as well. I have been a Kay Francis fan for some time, and truly believe she was far underrated during her time. Many of her films follow the same mold, but there are a dozen or so which stand on their own. This was the film which first attracted me to her as a fan, and I was delighted by many of the films she did, particularly at Warner Brothers where she was "Queen of the Lot" for several years before Bette Davis. "Confession" ranks with "One Way Passage" and "Jewel Robbery" as her best films at Warner Brothers, although there are several "camp classics" as "Mandalay" and "Stolen Holiday". Although never nominated for an Academy Award, Francis certainly could have been a contender for "One Way Passage", "Trouble in Paradise", "Confession", and "In Name Only". "Confession" is probably her meatiest assignment: coming on as a woman of questionable virtue who shoots Basil Rathbone then has to reveal her reasoning without allowing the public to find out. In her blonde Dietrich like wig, Francis makes the audience aware that this is a worn woman, like Dietrich in "Blonde Venus", and in flashbacks, we get to see where she has gone, from a top singing diva to a tired cafe performer. I was riveted to the TV from the moment that Francis appeared until her sad but hopeful fadeout at the end. Jane Bryan, too, is very good as the young girl Basil Rathbone wants to take advantage of, and had she not left films to get married, she would have had a very promising career. In smaller roles, Laura Hope Crews and Ian Hunter are fine, and as the villain, Basil Rathbone is wonderfully hissable. Of course there will be the ultimate "Madame X" comparisons, but this film has enough style of its own to stand apart from the Fannie Hurst classic (filmed the same year with Gladys George).
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