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True Confession (1937)

 -  Comedy  -  24 December 1937 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 831 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 5 critic

Helen and Ken are a pretty strange couple. She is a pathological liar, and he is a scrupulously honest (and therefore unsuccessful) lawyer. Helen starts a new job, and when her employer is ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Helen Bartlett
...
Kenneth Bartlett
...
Charles "Charley" Jasper
Una Merkel ...
Daisy McClure
Porter Hall ...
Mr. Hartman, Prosecutor
Edgar Kennedy ...
Darsey
Lynne Overman ...
George, Bartender
Irving Bacon ...
Coroner
Fritz Feld ...
Butler
Richard Carle ...
Judge
John T. Murray ...
Otto Krayler
Tom Dugan ...
Typewriter Man (as Tommy Dugan)
Garry Owen ...
Tony Krauch
Toby Wing ...
Suzanne Baggart
...
Ella
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Storyline

Helen and Ken are a pretty strange couple. She is a pathological liar, and he is a scrupulously honest (and therefore unsuccessful) lawyer. Helen starts a new job, and when her employer is found dead, all the (circumstantial) evidence points at her. She is put on trial for murder, and her husband defends her. He thinks she is lying again when she says she didn't do it, and insists she plead that she did, but in self defense. Charlie, a shady, odd character who may or may not know something about what really happened, hangs around the courtroom and jail making rude comments and noises. After Helen is acquitted, he tries to blackmail them. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 December 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Confissão de Mulher  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on April 13, 1941 with Fred MacMurray and Carole Lombard reprising their film roles. See more »

Quotes

Ballistic Expert: I got the call about 10 o'clock Wednesday morning from the homicide bureau. I found the defendant, I mean, er, the deceased, laying, er, lying face down on the floor, I mean the rug. So I examined the uh, rug, or, er, uh, the body, and found that death was caused by two bullets, fired into his range, I mean, two bullets fired at close range into his lead, er, head.
See more »

Connections

Version of Cross My Heart (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

True Confession
Music by Friedrich Hollaender (as Frederick Hollander)
Lyrics by Sam Coslow
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wildly Underrated Black Comedy with Lombard at Her Best
10 December 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

TRUE CONFESSION is one of the unsung gems of the 1930's, a brilliant black comedy that surprisingly is often written off as a misfire. I think it may be because it is so remarkably different than other 1930's comedies which usually feature lovable and endearing characters in a charming situation; in TRUE CONFESSION we get a certified pathological liar in Lombard and a downright menacing villain in Barrymore. Lombard starts as a woman finds herself falsely accused of murder, to help her husband's floundering career as a lawyer she falsely admits to the crime!! This wacky, envelope-pushing comedy is a thorough delight and makes the cynicism in a more famous Lombard picture, NOTHING SACRED, seem downright sugary. Alas, this picture, clearly inspired by the plot of the famous 1920's musical CHICAGO, was obviously too audacious in theme for 1930's audiences as it would be in 1942 when Ginger Rogers filmed the musical as a song-less comedy in ROXIE HART. CHICAGO was never really appreciated until it's 1975 revival and it's later film version with Renee Zellwegger, but critical respect for ROXIE HART came around with time and I believe it's time for TRUE CONFESSION too to get a new reevaluation as a pioneer black comedy.

Lombard is at her best as the novelist who couldn't tell the truth if she wanted to; Barrymore is superb in an over-the-top caricature of as seedy adventurer. Una Merkel is absolutely perfect as Carole's best friend, this has to be one of her greatest roles. Fred MacMurray is a solid presence as Lombard's devoted and idealistic husband and very sexy too, especially in those swimsuit scenes near the end. Famed movie musical chorine Toby Wing is fun in a bit part as the mistress/"secretary" of the deceased and Hattie McDaniel is hilarious in her few scenes and has perhaps the best line in the picture as she quizzes MacMurray about possibly representing her in as of yet uncommitted crime. Beautifully photographed by Ted Tetzlaff and brilliantly directed Wesley Ruggles, TRUE CONFESSION has more potential to become a cult film than any as of yet undiscovered 1930's comedy that I've seen.


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