24 user 9 critic

The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931)

Passed | | Drama | 24 October 1931 (USA)
Out of jail for a crime she did not commit, Madelon turns to prostitution and thievery to send her illegitimate son to medical school.


Edgar Selwyn


Edward Knoblock (play)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Helen Hayes ... Madelon Claudet
Lewis Stone ... Carlo Boretti
Neil Hamilton ... Larry
Robert Young ... Dr. Lawrence Claudet
Cliff Edwards ... Victor
Jean Hersholt ... Dr. Dulac
Marie Prevost ... Rosalie
Karen Morley ... Alice Claudet
Charles Winninger ... Photographer
Alan Hale ... Hubert
Halliwell Hobbes ... Roget
Lennox Pawle ... St. Jacques
Russ Powell Russ Powell ... M. Claudet


French country girl Madelon falls for artist Larry, who leaves her after she becomes pregnant. She finds help from jewel thief Carlo, but he commits suicide when the police try to arrest him. Madelon is arrested and receives a ten year term in prison for assisting him in his profession. To support her son, who does not know that she's been in prison, she becomes a street walker, allowing him to attend medical school. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You'll weep, you'll thrill as never before at this great picture of mother-love and sacrifice! (Print Ad- Victoria Daily Times, ((Victoria, BC)) 6 February 1932) See more »




Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Originally, the title of the film was going to be "The Lullaby," but was announced on 24 October 1931 it would be changed to "The Sin Of Madelon Claudet". (Syracuse ((NY)) American, 25 October 1931) See more »


When Madelon visits Dr. Larry Claudet at his home office; he checks her heart and lungs by placing his ear to her chest and back. But a doctor needs a stethoscope to hear the heart and lungs directly, therefore, examining her in this manner is wrong especially since the stethoscope had already been invented for over a hundred years by this time period in the film. See more »


Carlo Boretti: I wish Spaniards wouldn't put so much tragedy in their music; they ask for love with so many tears.
See more »


Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) See more »


For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
Sung a cappella by Larry's friends
See more »

User Reviews

The definitive "sacrificing mother" saga of the 1930s
28 October 2002 | by back2wsocSee all my reviews

Helen Hayes makes an astonishing film debut here as the title character, a young woman who runs off with her poor beau and has a child. Through ensuing (and realistic) circumstances, she goes through the transitions of being a destitute country girl, a jewel thief's lover, a prison inmate and finally becoming a haggard vagrant. All of these incidents, at the expense of her own pleasure, are done in order to secure a place in life for her son as a prominent physician. At only 73 minutes, one would expect these changes to occur at somewhat of a breakneck speed, but the movie moves along at a leisurely and elegiac pace. Hayes won herself a well-deserved Academy Award for her luminous performance in this ultimate 1930s tearjerker.

23 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 24 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.





English | French

Release Date:

24 October 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sin of Madelon Claudet See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed