Portia on Trial (1937)

 |  Drama  |  8 November 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 17 users  
Reviews: 4 user

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Dan Foster
Frieda Inescort ...
Portia Merriman
Earle Condon
Elizabeth Manners
Ruth Donnelly ...
Jane Wilkins
Clarence Kolb ...
John Condon
Anthony Marsh ...
Richard Conlan
Paul Stanton ...
George Cooper ...
John Kelly ...
Hobart Bosworth ...
Ian Maclaren ...
Father Caslez
Bob Murphy ...


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Plot Keywords:

courtroom | murder | See All (2) »


Will Not Interest Children!







Release Date:

8 November 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Defesa de Mãe  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Madame X wins!!!
21 June 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a taut, well written, social drama. The performances are solid and the editing and direction are brisk.

I have waited over 50 years to see this, now finally in 2015 out on DVD from a TV print that is 20 minutes shorn of its full length, but at 52 minutes does not seem to be missing any of its core.

I won't try to describe the narrative other than to say this is the Madame X scenario, where the Madame wins and does not die to correct her moral lapses. There is even a dance shared with the son given up who does not know he is dancing with his mother, that made it into the 1946 Madame X take-off, To Each His Own, which finally won an Oscar for this female lead type (Olivia de Havilland in this case).

The decade between 1935 and 1945 allowed all studios to submit to the Academy their "best" in the four audio categories (song, sound, original score, scoring) and be guaranteed an Oscar nom, regardless of the quality of the film or the offering within the category. This, like most Republic offerings during the period, is one of those.

The score which won the nomination is mediocre and pedestrian, perfectly acceptable for a B film, but in no way remarkable. It only appears in the following scenes: Main Title and Intro; Remembrance of son; Portia prepares to go out; Clients; Home Visit; Before the Judge; Party; Murder; End Title.

To be commended are veteran character actress, Ruth Connelly, as Portia's assistant, and Frieda Inescourt herself in a stellar performance.

Now available on DVD for the first time. Worth a watch.

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