The Kiss Before the Mirror


1h 7m 1933

Brief Synopsis

An attorney defending a friend whose wife cheated on him suspects his own wife of adultery.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Mystery
Release Date
May 4, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Der Kuss Vor Dem Spiegel by Ladislaus Fodor (Vienna, Sep 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

Paul Held, a noted attorney in Vienna, defends his best friend, Walter Bernsdorf, who is on trial for the murder of his wife Lucy. After hearing Walter's impassioned description of Lucy's infidelity and the events leading up to the murder, Paul returns home to his wife Maria. While she puts on her make-up in front of her vanity mirror, Paul recognizes a similarity to the events Walter had described in court, and notices that his wife appears to pay special attention to her make-up for reasons unconnected with her love for him. Paul kisses Maria, and she angrily repulses him, claiming he has ruined her make-up; then she casually goes out. Like Walter before him, Paul follows her and watches as she meets clandestinely with her lover. Paul plans to kill Maria and becomes obsessed with the idea of vindicating Walter by proving that his love for his wife made him crazed with jealousy when he saw her with another man. Maria becomes uneasy, because the trial hits too close to home, but continues to see her lover. On the day of deliberations, Paul insists that Maria hear his closing appeal in court. During his speech, Paul claims that "the more a man loves and the more he is deceived, the greater his desire for revenge." He becomes so overwrought while he recounts Walter's trauma that he pulls a gun from his pocket and points it at Maria. She screams and faints, and is taken into his office. Paul finishes his speech, and the court recesses while the jury deliberates. In his office, Maria expects Paul to kill her, but vows that she still loves him. Paul holds off until he hears that Walter is acquitted, but Walter entreats him not to do something he will regret. Lacking the will to kill Maria, Paul forgives her instead and asks her to leave. Later at home, he smashes her vanity mirror. He then turns around to find Maria and they embrace.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Mystery
Release Date
May 4, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Der Kuss Vor Dem Spiegel by Ladislaus Fodor (Vienna, Sep 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to a modern source, Universal originally wanted Charles Laughton to play "Walter Bernsdorf," but was unable to sign him after he went to England to do The Private Life of Henry VIII. Modern sources also note that the film was shot in sequential order. In 1938, Universal released Wives Under Suspicion, based on the same source (see below).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1933

Released in United States March 1975

Remade by James Whale in 1938 as "Wives Under Suspicion."

Released in United States 1933

Released in United States March 1975 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (3-day James Whale Retrospective) March 13-26, 1975.)