Wife Trap (1922)

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Although German cinema created masterpieces like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, it also created this shabby domestic drama, produced by UFA and distributed in the U.S. by Paramount. Based on the play, The Confession by Earnest Vajda, it stars Mia May, a hefty actress who made something of a splash in The Mistress of the World. It opens with Lavinia Moreland (May) on trial for the murder of her wealthy banker husband (Albert Steinruck). She has refused to tell the court anything, but when her child is brought out, she spills her guts -- she married the banker so that her invalid lover could take a trip to Egypt for his health. She confided in a friend, Violet (Dyumar Van Twist), who betrayed her to the husband. He bribed a supposed nobleman, Vicomte Gaston de Cardillac (Alfred Gerasch) to compromise Lavinia, and he was successful. But before he could do anything about his triumph, Lavinia killed him. After she finishes telling her tale to the courtroom, they decide to let her off, and she returns to the man she loved all along.

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artist, detective, false-accusation, husband, invalid, investigation, marriage, murder, scandal, trial [courtroom]