Madame X (1966)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB.5

USA, 1966.  , , Eltee.  Screenplay by , based on the play by . Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

The classic tearjerker that has been remade more times than Dracula and Frankenstein. Most people who refer to it nowadays are generally talking about this version, starring an aging Lana Turner and produced by Ross Hunter. The soap-operatic plot follows Turner as she marries a wealthy socialite () and is compromised by the death of a romantic rival () who was trying to woo her away from her family. Her conniving mother-in-law insists that she leave the country and change her identity, which Turner does, leaving behind husband and son; years later, she returns from the Caribbean to her family’s city and kills a man who is threatening to blackmail her with information about her past. Upon going to trial, she learns that her defending lawyer is actually her son, forcing her to decide whether or not to reveal herself or to protect him from her identity. This is the kind of film that is generally referred to as a bored housewife movie, but unlike similar genre films like All That Heaven Allows and Imitation Of Life, it doesn’t go anywhere near the same kind of subversive rebelliousness that made those films so much more than they seemed to be. The story here is far too purple and Turner’s overly-committed performance doesn’t help.

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