A woman married to a wealthy socialite, is compromised by the accidental death of a man who had been romantically pursuing her, and is forced by her mother-in-law to assume a new identity ... See full summary »
A woman married to a wealthy socialite, is compromised by the accidental death of a man who had been romantically pursuing her, and is forced by her mother-in-law to assume a new identity to save the reputation of her husband and infant son. She wanders the world, trying to forget her heartbreak with the aid of alcohol and unsavory men, eventually returning to the city of her downfall, where she murders a blackmailer who threatens to expose her past. Amazingly, she is represented at her murder trial by her now adult son, who is a public defender. Hoping to continue to protect her son, she refuses to give her real name and is known to the court as the defendant, "Madame X." Written by
Richard Blinkal <email@example.com>
A lower-class woman (Lana Turner) marries a rich man (John Forsythe) much to his mother's (Constance Bennett) disapproval. Years pass--she has a son and starts an affair with a sleazy guy (Ricardo Montalban). When she tries to call if off he accidentally dies. Her mother-in-law finds out and convinces her to fake her death and flee--or she'll ruin the life of her husband and child. She does but is destroyed by self-guilt and becomes an alcoholic. She ends up killing another man...and is defended by her grown son (Kier Dullea)...who doesn't know she's his mother!
OK--we're not dealing with reality here. This is basically a melodramatic howler with jaw-dropping lines but damned if it didn't (ocassionally) work. It's lushly made with beautiful settings and gorgeous outfits and clothes. It also has a pounding music score that tells us exactly how to feel. And Bennett (in her last film) got a face lift before this movie started filming--she looks younger than Lana! The acting is not bad. Bennett makes the most of her role as a cold, calculating woman and it's nice to see Kier Dullea so young. But this is Lana's show all the way--she's just great and even allows herself to look terrible towards the end. The climatic courtroom sequence could have been campy but Turner's performance holds it all together. Also Burgess Meredith is good in a supporting role.
This is a very silly but fun soap opera elevated by the acting and beautiful production values. Considered to be Lana's last real good movie. I give it an 8.
21 of 27 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?