EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|CONFESSION (aka: MAZURKA) (director: Joe May; screenwriters: based on the play by Hans Rameau/Julius Epstein/Margaret LaVino/Stanley Logan; cinematographer: Sid Hickox; editor: James Gibbon; music: Leo Forbstein; cast: Jane Bryan (Lisa Koslov), Dorothy Peterson (Mrs. Koslov), Kay Francis (Vera Kowalska), Basil Rathbone (Michael Michailow), Donald Crisp (Judge), Robert Barrat (Prosecutor), Ben Welden (Defense Attorney), Ian Hunter (Capt. Leonide Kirow), Mary MaGuire (Hildegard); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: ; Warner Brothers; 1937)|
Hollywood soap opera in the style of a German
by Dennis Schwartz
emigre director Joe May ("Asphalt"/"The
Invisible Man Returns"/"The House of Seven Gables")
fashions a stylish Hollywood tearjerker soap opera in
the style of a German expressionist film. It's based
on the play by Hans Rameau. The film
was a remake of the 1935 German production of
Mazurka that starred Pola Negri. The story is
derived from a 1930 European law suit and tells
about an unhinged cabaret singer, Vera Kowalska (Kay
Francis), who is
on trial in Warsaw for murdering the oily established
concert pianist Michael Michailow (Basil Rathbone) after spotting him
kissing the innocent young conservatory student Lisa Koslov (Jane
Bryan) while she
The accused Vera admits to
the murder, but refuses during the trial to mention
her motive. The story unfolds in flashback, and little
by little the mystery is uncovered as to why the
distraught singer, once a great opera singer, plugged
the pianist. When Vera's suitcase is found and brought
to court, she tells her sob story to the court behind
closed doors and reveals how the slimy Michailow, after a
one-night stand, ruined her marriage to an army
captain (Ian Hunter) and how in the divorce she lost
custody of her beloved young daughter and didn't see
her for fifteen years until the night of the murder.
Vera is willing to go to prison to protect her child
from the scoundrel and feels it's best not to let her
know who is her real mother, since her father is dead
and his new wife (Dorothy Peterson) has a great relationship
with Lisa, and can best protect the sheltered girl.
Though the romantic parts
are stilted, the emotional story has oomph.
REVIEWED ON 6/14/2013 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ