Thursday, August 23, 2012

Madame Blanche

Back in February 2009, I very briefly mentioned the movie The Secret of Madame Blanche. It's airing tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM on TCM, and if you like movies like Madame X, you'll probably like this one, too.

Irene Dunne plays the lead role, this time as a showgirl in the 1890s instead of the married woman of Madame X. She falls in love with Phillips Holmes, and even gets knocked up by him. But Daddy (Lionel Atwill) doesn't approve of the relationship, cutting his son off which leads the son to commit suicide. At this point, Grandfather takes custody of his grandson (ie. the child of Dunne's and Holmes' relationship).

Fast forward 20 years. Dunne has been working as a barkeep in France to make a living, and it's now World War I. What British soldiers should wind up in the place where Dunne is working but the son she gave birth to all those years ago? Naturally, there's no good way she can tell him the truth. At this point, things get either interesting or melodramatic, depending upon your opinion of this sort of movie. The son is seeing a girl whose father doesn't like him, and there's a scuffle in which the son kills his girlfriend's father. And what does Madame Blanche do? She tries to take the rap for it!

As I said, it's the sort of movie that 80 years on can be a bit tough because the plot is just so unlike the stuff we're used to nowadays. Dunne does a reasonably good job, though, and this is a movie worth watching either for the people who are fans of Madame X, as I've already mentioned, or those who haven't seen any movies in this genre. As for the rest of you? Well, you've been warned.

The Secret of Madame Blanche has, as far as I'm aware, not received a release to DVD.

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