The Strange Case of Clara Deane (1932)

Passed   |    |  Drama


A young dress designer marries an insurance agent. They soon have a daughter, but what the wife doesn't know is that her husband is actually a criminal, who soon involves her--unwittingly--... See full summary »


7.2/10
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20 March 2006 | marcslope
7
| Good mother-love junk
Wynne Gibson didn't get to play a lot of leading roles, and she proves up to the task in this Stella Dallas/ Madelon Claudet/ Madame X-type weepie about the bad things that happen to a good woman. She's a talented dress designer circa 1912 who marries a shady insurance dealer (Pat O'Brien, cast against type and convincingly smarmy) and ends up an unwilling accomplice in an armed robbery. Forced to give up her adorable daughter, she emerges from prison and tries to track her down, hindered by a Javert-like but not entirely unsympathetic inspector (Dudley Digges). Gibson's makeup job doesn't convince you she spent 15 years at hard labor, but it's a sincere performance, and the mother-love suds churn up to a satisfying climax. This one isn't even shown on TCM (I saw it at Cinefest 2006, in Syracuse), and it's a shame, because it's faster-moving and less pretentious than other, more famous titles in this often-annoying subgenre.

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Drama

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