Thrown out of her home after her husband discovers her infidelity, a woman sinks into degradation. Twenty years later, she is charged with killing a man bent on revealing her degraded ... See full summary »
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Olivia de Havilland,
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Thrown out of her home after her husband discovers her infidelity, a woman sinks into degradation. Twenty years later, she is charged with killing a man bent on revealing her degraded status to her husband and the son she left behind. The son, unaware of her identity, becomes her defense attorney. Written by
Katharine Holden <email@example.com>
The play originally opened in Paris, France, on 15 December 1908. An English translation of the play by John Raphael opened in New York City, New York, USA on 2 January 1910 and had 125 performances. See more »
Madame X on a budget...but oh, what melodramatic courtroom proceedings!
First of all, let me say that GLADYS GEORGE does a remarkably fine job as "Madame X". But whomever decided to do the final courtroom scenes with an over-the-top argument by her lawyer son and hysterics from the woman on the stand, well...this maudlin scene reduces whatever credibility Miss George gives to her role. The final courtroom scenes are just too over-baked even by 1930 standards of the tear-jerker.
The cast is competent enough but the production has the look of an A-film given a B-budget, helped somewhat by the presence of actors like Warren Williams, Reginald Denny and Henry Daniell in the cast.
GLADYS GEORGE does the slattern extremely well, looking very much like a woman under the influence not only because of the realistic make-up but because of her very posture and mannerisms. Toward the end, during the final meeting with her son in jail, she looks like the broken woman she is supposed to be.
All of this was rehashed in the 1960s with LANA TURNER in the title role. Turner was fine and almost matched George in the final scenes of degradation. But in this version, Sam Wood should have tempered the melodrama in the climactic courtroom scene. Instead, there is no restraint whatsoever. He lets JOHN BEAL (as George's son) go on too long on a sentimental monologue that defies credibility. This scene alone is so overplayed that it makes the film strictly a product of the 1930s.
The mother/son angle of the '60's version (between Turner and Kier Dullea) was done with much more restraint and believability and had the touching effect needed to make the tear-jerker work.
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