Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Madelon Claudet

I've briefly mentioned the movie The Sin of Madelon Claudet a couple of times in the past, as it's one of the many movies Hollywood made that's similar to the Madame X story. The Sin of Madelon Claudet airs overnight tonight at 2:30 AM.

Helen Hayes wins the Oscar for her performance of the mother who gives birth to a child out of wedlock when the baby's father doesn't want to get married to her. Mother goes through all sorts of degradations to try to provide for her son: in this case prostitution and being an accessory to larceny. (The larceny is committed by Lewis Stone, who would later play Judge Hardy.) Fast forward a bunch of years, and son meets mother (this time in World War I), not knowing that the woman he's met is in fact Mother. Son (Robert Young) is a doctor, and has been put through medical school thanks to her prostitution....

If the movie sounds creaky and trite, that's because in many ways it is. And yet, it's got an appealing quality about it, watching all of these names you've seen a dozen times before if you're a regular reader of the blog. And to be fair, since this was one of the earlier movie versions of the Madame X story, it's not as trite as a movie like To Each His Own fifteen years later. The Sin of Madelon Claudet hasn't been released to DVD yet as far as I can tell, so you're going to have to catch the TCM showing.

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