Portrait in Black/Madame X [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Portrait in Black
Wanting to be free of her crippled husband but not his enormous fortune, a glamorous wife talks her lover, who is also her spouse's personal physician, into injecting poison into the ailing industrialist. This crime melodrama chronicles the chain of events that leads to the murderous lovers' downfall. Though they successfully offed the husband, the two are not allowed to enjoy their new wealth and happiness for a letter sent to the wife reveals that someone knows about the crime. Believing that the anonymous author is her late-husbands investment advisor, the wife and her lover quickly dispatch him. When his body later turns up, another is blamed with the crime. Unfortunately, the villainous twosome, the accused is to marry the granddaughter of the deceased tycoon. Matters don't improve when the doctor/lover's conscience flares up and he decides to confess. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Madame X
Lana Turner takes the lead in the seventh film version of Alexandre Bisson's glossy soap opera. Holly Parker (Turner) is married to respected diplomat Clay Anderson (John Forsythe), but his busy schedule prevents them from seeing each other very often. Distracted and lonely, Holly allows her head to be turned by carefree playboy Phil Benton (Ricardo Montalban), who dies in a freak accident during an assignation. In a panic, Holly contacts her mother-in-law, Estelle Anderson (Constance Bennett) and asks what she should do. Estelle, a joyless woman who has never cared for her daughter-in-law, tells Holly that unless she wants to destroy her husband's life and career, she should flee the country and never return. Tearfully, Holly follows Estelle's advice, leaving behind her young son. Many years later, Holly has fallen on hard times; addicted to drugs, she scrapes out a meager living as a prostitute in a cheap hotel in Mexico. Devious criminal Dan Sullivan (Burgess Meredith) tries to involve Holly in a blackmail scheme; at the last minute, she finds out that Clay is the target, and she kills Sullivan. She cannot afford to hire a lawyer to defend her, so she is assigned a dedicated young public defender, whom she soon recognizes as her son, Clay Anderson, Jr. (Keir Dullea). Not wanting Clay, Jr. to know her true identity, Holly is tried as "Madame X," but she has trouble keeping her composure given the trial and her mixed joy and shame at seeing her son. Madame X was Constance Bennett's first film in 12 years and the last she would ever make; she died of a cerebral hemorrhage shortly after completing her work on the picture, nine months before it was released. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Lana Turner
    Lana Turner - Sheila Cabot
  • Anthony Quinn
    Anthony Quinn - Dr. David Rivera
  • Sandra Dee
    Sandra Dee - Catherine Cabot
  • John Saxon
    John Saxon - Blake Richards
  • Richard Basehart
    Richard Basehart - Howard Mason

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