History Bits

Once again I offer another movie synopsis for review. The movie, Confession,  was filmed in 1937, so I do not believe I will be giving away a secret that could not be found on the internet.  I chose this film because of the dramatic scenes and flashback qualities. I believe as a writer that experiencing these moments in film will greatly enhance a author's abilities.

The first part of the movie details how a naive young school girl,  Lisa, becomes entangled with an older more worldly man, Micheal, while her mother is away.  Lisa is suspicious about his motives, but in a typical schoolgirl fashion, continues to fall for his charming personality. She finally starts to relax a little around him and he takes her to a crowded but out-of-the way cabaret. A spotlight shines on them and everyone sees them kissing in a corner. He sands up to protest and, dramatic moment here, the cabaret singer promptly faints and is moved to the lobby for the next act which showcases western shooting.  The cabaret singer steals a gun and shots Micheal in the back as he and Lisa are leaving.  Next we see her in a courtroom with another dramatic scene. Kay Francis had this role as Vera and was very good at the part.

Vera confesses her crime but will not tell why she did it. The court is growing impatient with her refusal.  A suitcase is produced and the bailiff begins to open it. Another dramatic scene as she frantically tries to talk them out of opening the case in front everyone assembled there. Her request is finally granted and the court clears expect for her attorney, the prosecutor and the judges.

Thus begins the flashback sequence. I do not believe  I could do justice to this movie by trying to explain but I will do my best. The first flashback sequence shows Vera as a younger Opera singer very happily engaged to an army officer. Micheal, however, confesses to her that he is love with here. Later she has a child while her husband is off at war. She is too worried about her child and her doctor urges her to go out and have some fun. A charity ball invitation has just come so off she goes. Micheal is there and tells her it was he who invited her.  She drinks a lot of champagne with her old opera crowd and they adjourn to Micheal's house after the ball. Another dramatic scene here when she wakes up in his bed fully clothed but not remembering anything. Micheal of course, true to his nature has hot footed out of town.

She rushes home to her child and there her husband appears. The guilt she feels makes her want to confess but he is wounded and she does love him so she stays and nurses him back to health. Letters from Micheal appear daily and finally demands she come to see him for her to cone to him. She does not realize her husband over hears and he leaves and takes custody of the child. The law at that time, stated if a wife was found cheating, the husband automatically got the child. Here there is a break and the story reverts back to the courtroom.  I think that scene though small was essential to the movie. From a writer's POV, I believe it kept the viewers interest in wanting to know what happened to Vera. I think if that one small scene had not be inserted the viewer would have lost interest in the film.

Another flashback scene shows her searching the phone book for her husband's name and finally finding it she goes to the address. We now see the same scene between Lisa and who she believes to be her mother from Vera's point of view. Vera explains to the mother that she knew the husband and his former wife a long time ago.  The mother confesses that she is not Lisa's mother as her biological mother had died she raised her as her own. Her husband is now dead so she feels it is best not to tell Lisa.  Lisa never knew she was adopted by the husband's new wife. Vera thanks her and leaves, never revealing her true purpose for visiting.

That very night the scene at the cabaret happens.  Vera begs the court not to tell the public, as she does not want Lisa's reputation tarnished. The court brings the reporters and others including Lisa (as a witness)  and  her mother back into court. The judge says they find her guilty, but with mitigating circumstances, as this man had harmed Vera in the past and she believed he would harm another young woman.

The story ends as Vera walks back to her cell and is approached by Lisa who thanks her and wishes her good luck.  Through a window Vera sees Lisa and her mother leaves arm in arm.

How do you blend  flashbacks into your work ? Are there enough moments to break up the flashback and keep the audience interested?

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