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Madame X

(1937 b 72')

En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on a play by Alexandre Bisson, an unfaithful wife is cast out by her husband, becomes an alcoholic, and commits murder.

In Paris Jacqueline Fleuriot (Gladys George) tells Jean that she won't visit him anymore. Annette comes in looking for a woman and shoots Jean. Jacqueline sees Jean dead and runs away. Dr. LaFarge tells Bernard Fleuriot (Warren William) that his son Raymond is ill. Jacqueline comes in late; Bernard asks who the man is and won't forgive her. He orders Jacqueline to leave. Dr. LaFarge says that Raymond will survive. Jacqueline comes back in, and Bernard promises her money. She accepts divorce for her son's sake. Maurice Dourel (Reginald Owen) calls on Bernard and learns that Jacqueline was unfaithful. Maurice tells Bernard to give Jacqueline another chance, and Bernard asks the police to find her.

Jacqueline works as a governess but won't go out with Hugh Fariman (Jonathan Hale) until she learns that police are looking for her. Then she goes to his yacht and is taken to New York, where she meets his son. Jacqueline misses her boy, drinks, pawns her jewelry, and goes to New Orleans. She tries to sell her clothes but instead is hired as a hostess by Scipio (Luis Alberni). In Scipio's saloon she drinks and sings "You're Setting Me on Fire;" but she is fired for being drunk. Police tell Bernard and Maurice that they could not find Jacqueline in ten years. Jacqueline is taken to Buenos Aires. At a hotel she can't pay her bill, but LeRocle (Henry Daniell) makes her his partner. Drunk Jacqueline tells him about her prominent husband.

In Paris Raymond Fleuriot (John Beal) dances with Helene and plans to marry now that he is a lawyer. LeRocle brings Jacqueline back to France and plans to blackmail her husband; but she shoots LeRocle. In jail Jacqueline is given Raymond as her defense lawyer; but she confesses and rejects him, wanting to die. Raymond tells his father about her case, and Bernard suggests blaming a man. In her trial Jacqueline remains silent. Maurice and the housekeeper Rose (Emma Dunn) recognize Jacqueline. Then Bernard and Jacqueline recognize each other. Suddenly Jacqueline speaks out that she was protecting her son, who thinks she is dead. Then she learns that her attorney is her son Raymond, who argues that her husband is to blame for not giving her another chance. Raymond pleads eloquently for mercy. Maurice tells Bernard that Raymond must not know. Bernard offers to help Jacqueline; but she only thanks Raymond and kisses him. Then Jacqueline collapses, and a doctor says she is dead.

This sad story shows how the failure to forgive one sin results in a wasted life that is poetically redeemed by sacrificing the lives of a blackmailer and herself; but for what? - to save her son from learning the truth about her or to protect her husband's reputation?

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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