Although some critics sniped that Madame X was hopelessly old-fashioned, others praised the film, and Turner's performance. James Powers wrote in the Hollywood Reporter, "a superb cast of players take this rather shabby old piece and give it immediacy, vigor and credibility." And Charles Champlin wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "the unsparing, guileless honesty of [Turner's] performance is very touching." Those who called the film passé may have been right - Madame X did not do well at the box office. But it remained among Lana Turner's personal favorites, and one of the performances of which she was proudest.
Turner plays Holly, the neglected wife of a diplomat and mother of a young son. She has an affair with a playboy, and is implicated in his death. To avoid tainting her family with scandal, Holly disappears, leaving them to believe she's dead. Over the years Holly sinks into a life of degradation, until another death leaves her on trial for murder...defended by the son who's unaware of who she is.
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