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Confession (1937)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 28 August 1937 (USA)
Aging down on her luck cabaret singer murders a respectable composer. On trial she slowly gives in and explains her crime. They had a complicated history.

Director:

Joe May

Writers:

Hans Rameau (original screenplay), Julius J. Epstein (English adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kay Francis ... Vera Kowalska
Ian Hunter ... Leonide Kirow
Basil Rathbone ... Michael Michailow
Jane Bryan ... Lisa Koslov
Donald Crisp ... Presiding Judge
Mary Maguire ... Hildegard
Dorothy Peterson ... Mrs. Koslov
Laura Hope Crews ... Stella
Robert Barrat ... Prosecuting Attorney
Ben Welden ... Defense Attorney
Veda Ann Borg ... Xenia
Joan Valerie ... Wanda (as Helen Valkis)
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Storyline

It's 1930 in a European metropolis. Lisa Koslov, a young, innocent woman, is a student of piano at the city's music conservatory. She is without her mother for a few days for the first time in her life, her mother, out of town on family business, who she cannot turn to at this time for advice in dealing with the advances of an older man, who she will learn is famed composer/conductor/pianist Michael Michailow. Despite not feeling that spending time with Michael is the right thing, she is unable to fend off his advances, which he is able to manipulate to his advantage. Lisa is on a night out at a cabaret with Michael when the cabaret's aging singer, Vera Kowalska, spots Lisa and Michael in the audience, Vera who shoots Michael dead before he and Lisa can leave. At Vera's murder trial where Lisa is among the eyewitnesses testifying for the prosecution, Vera readily admits that she shot Michael, but she will not talk otherwise to defend herself by providing justifying reasons for her ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

28 August 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

One Hour of Romance See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$513,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to studio records, producer Henry Blanke wanted Bette Davis for the lead in this film, and wanted Warner Baxter for the role played by Basil Rathbone. See more »

Goofs

The date on the Warsaw Opera House playbill is Wednesday, February 12, 1912. That day was actually a Monday. See more »

Connections

Remake of Mazurka (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Sonata in A, K.331
(1783?) (uncredited)
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Played on piano in part by Basil Rathbone (piano dubbed by Max Rabinowitz)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A forgotten gem - Kay Francis is sensational!
15 December 1999 | by David-240See all my reviews

This must be the best role Kay Francis ever had - and she rises to it, giving an astonishing performance. When you first see her - in blonde wig, singing and dancing Dietrich style but half-drunk - you know you're in for something different. As the film flashes back Francis transforms into an innocent young girl, and back to the present she stands with solemn dignity, a woman all but "washed-up". You'll never forget the final moments of this film.

When Francis is not on, and it takes her a while to appear, the film is less extraordinary - but by no means bad. Jane Bryan's a bit wet, but Basil Rathbone is suitably slimy as her seducer. And there are strong performances from the wonderful Laura Hope Crews (Aunt Pitty-Pat as an opera singer) and the excellent Donald Crisp.

But it is the visual style of the piece that, coupled with Francis' performance, makes the film unforgettable. The story goes that this is a frame by frame remake of a German film called "Mazurka" starring Pola Negri. This would explain why the film looks so different to the usual Hollywood style. There are bizarre camera angles, expressionist sequences, non-realistic moments, haunting music and bizarre costume, make-up and set designs. Joe May directs with a steady hand, and Sidney Hickox's cinematography and Orry-Kelly's costumes warrant special mention.

This film deserves to be resurrected and re-assessed. It is one of the most original American films of the 1930's. It also makes me want to re-assess the career of Kay Francis, who is an actress I never warmed to before this film. See it and tell me what you think!


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