6.7/10
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14 user 9 critic

The Kiss Before the Mirror (1933)

Passed | | Drama, Mystery | 4 May 1933 (USA)
When a famous doctor kills his adulterous wife, he is defended by his best friend, an attorney--who suspects that his own wife is having an affair.

Director:

James Whale

Writers:

Ladislas Fodor (play) (as Ladislaus Fodor), William Anthony McGuire (screen play)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Nancy Carroll ... Maria Held
Frank Morgan ... Paul Held
Paul Lukas ... Walter Bernsdorf
Gloria Stuart ... Lucy Bernsdorf
Jean Dixon ... Hilda Frey
Donald Cook ... Maria's Lover
Charley Grapewin ... Schultz (as Charles Grapewin)
Walter Pidgeon ... Lucy's Lover
Wallis Clark ... Public Prosecutor
May Boley ... Busybody in Courtroom
Christian Rub ... Man on the Wrong Floor
Reginald Mason ... Judge
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Storyline

When a lawyer defending his best friend for murdering his unfaithful wife discovers how the accused discovered his wife was in love with another man, the lawyer begins to see the same patterns in his own wife's behavior, and suspects she too is being unfaithful. Promising his friend that a defense of momentary insanity will acquit him, he also promises to kill his own wife if the defense actually works. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 May 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Csók a tükör előtt See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Even though the film takes place in Austria, mostly in Vienna, most of the crew were native Americans. Paul Lukas was the only one who was actually a native to Germanic Europe, having been born in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. See more »

Quotes

Paul Held: Hello, Bill
Bill - a murderer: Hello, Mr. Held
Paul Held: Well, you'll be out of here soon.
Bill - a murderer: I have been out. I broke out. KIlled the wife and her boyfriend, now I'm in for good.
Paul Held: That's too bad.
Bill - a murderer: Too bad, nothing. I'm happy. Wondering where that woman was all the time used to drive me crazy.
Paul Held: Yeah, well you know where she is now.
Bill - a murderer: I know where I hope she is!
[he laughs]
See more »

Connections

Remade as Wives Under Suspicion (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

 
This one sure is different.
4 May 2009 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This film begins with a husband following his wife to a rendezvous with her lover. There, he savagely kills her with a revolver--shooting her repeatedly as she fell to the ground. The husband, Paul Lukas, immediately phones the police to turn himself in for murder. However, his lawyer (Frank Morgan) works hard for his acquittal or a lenient sentence, since the husband was driven to this by his wife's behavior. Morgan's insistence of Lukas' innocence is important, since Morgan himself realizes his wife is also committing adultery and proving Lukas' innocence is, in a way, vindication for Morgan if he, too, decides to kill his wife.

As for Morgan, his performance is quite atypical. Instead of the usual nice guy or comical figure, here he plays a highly emotional and almost unhinged man. He's a bit over the top in his acting, but his melodramatic behavior is fun to watch.

The film was directed by James Whale--the same man who directed Boris Karloff and Colin Clive in the first two of Universal's Frankenstein movies. Like these films, THE KISS BEFORE THE MIRROR is notable for having many quiet moments where there is no incidental music. This is important because it adds to the tension and drama--producing a stark but intense film. Additionally, the film manages to do a lot in only a little over an hour--a sign of excellent direction. The only negative is that the final scene with Morgan's wife is a bit too melodramatic--too shrill to be realistic.

Overall, rather entertaining and different.


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