The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama  |   Release Date - Oct 24, 1931 (USA)  |   Run Time - 74 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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In the space of 74 minutes, Helen Hayes goes from naïve French country lass to elderly harridan in Sin of Madelon Claudet. Is it any wonder that she won an Academy Award? (She truly deserved this Oscar; the jury is still out concerning her cutesy supporting turn in 1969's Airport, which also copped her the gold statuette). Betrayed by artist Neil Hamilton, Hayes moves on to jewel thief Lewis Stone, who commits suicide to avoid arrest, leaving Hayes to her fate. After ten years in jail for her complicity in Stone's crimes, Hayes turns to the only profession open to her. She walks the streets to raise enough money to support her illegitimate son, who grows up to be Robert Young and who has no idea that Hayes is his mother. Thanks to his mother's anonymous financial support, Young is able to attend medical school, eventually becoming a wealthy doctor. Even allowing for the illogical nature of the plotline and the lachrymose dialogue, the heartrending final scenes of Sin of Madelon Claudet can still raise a lump in the throat after 65 years.

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Keywords

woman, false-conviction, artist, prison, relationship, suicide, thief, self-sacrifice, son, support, prostitute/prostitution, doctor, medical-school