Friday, December 13, 2002


One of the last of the pre-Code crime-of-passion melodramas, set (unnecessarily) in Paris. Adolph Menjou plays a well-known playwright who is married to Ruth Chatterton but is having a rather public dalliance with the star of his latest play, Claire Dodd. In a well-played and well-shot opening scene, Chatterton hides in the shadows by a theater stage door and sees Menjou and Dodd proclaim their love. He tells Dodd he will ask his wife for a divorce, but when he goes home that night, he can't go through with it. Chatterton asks her lawyer about her options and decides she can't stop him from leaving (if he actually gets up the gumption to do so). So she goes to the theater and shoots Dodd dead during a rehearsal. However, a bank robber (Noel Madison) who has already killed a teller, escapes into the theater at that moment and is arrested for Dodd's murder. Menjou discovers the truth and writes in a diary about his predictions that his wife will eventually crack and confess to the crime. She does crack, though the circumstances wind up a little messier than Menjou predicted for all concerned. For an hour-long movie with a number of soap opera twists, it lags more often than it should. Chatterton is OK, but Dodd, in her few early scenes, has more personality. The supporting cast includes Douglas Dumbrille and George Barbier, and in a very small role, Jane Darwell. Noel Madison makes the most of his relatively few scenes as the bank robber, who winds up being perhaps the most interesting character in the movie.

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