Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Alexandre Brisson's weepy 1906 play had already been filmed three times when the 1929 talkie Madame X made its debut. Ruth Chatterton stars as a low-born wife of a socialite, whose aristocratic in-laws kick her out when she gives birth to a baby boy of dubious parentage. The boy, who has been led to believe his mother is dead, grows up to become a renowned attorney (Raymond Hackett). Mama Chatterton takes to the streets, but proudly monitors her son's progress from afar. When Chatterton is accused of murder, her defense attorney is none other than her son. She refuses to tell him the truth about their relationship, even though that information may make the difference between execution and exoneration. Madame X would be remade three more times over the next five decades; to avoid confusion with these later versions, the 1929 Madame X has been retitled Absinthe for its TV showings.
mother, defense-attorney, murder-trial, son, socialite