Latest time out for Alexandre Bisson’s now-classic 1909 drama of mother love is an emotional, sometimes exhausting and occasionally corny picture. Lana Turner takes on the difficult assignment of the frustrated mother, turning in what many will regard as her most rewarding portrayal. Producer Ross Hunter draws generally on the original plot but has changed the locale from Paris to the US for pic’s opening and climax.
Screenplay now has femme star very much in love with her husband, instead of running away from her spouse, as in the original, to join her lover. However, following an affair with a rich playboy, who is accidentally killed while she is in his apartment, she is talked by her mother-in-law into disappearing in a phony drowning episode to save her politically-minded husband and young son from scandal.
John Forsythe excels as the husband, whose political career forces him to absent himself from home for long periods of time and thus lays the ground for his lonely wife’s indiscretion. Ricardo Montalban is persuasive as the playboy who falls to his death, and Constance Bennett # in her last film appearance before her death # endows the mother-in-law role with quiet dignity and strength.