Sarah and Son (1929): Arzner’s Oscar-Nominated Melodrama, Starring Ruth Chatterton

The sure fire theme of maternal love is handled by Dorothy Arzner in an old-fashioned, and schmaltzy way in the Paramount melodrama, Sarah and Son, scripted by Zoe Akins.

Ruth Chatterton received a Best Actress Oscar nomination as the suffering mother, an immigrant German woman whose son is torn away from her by her worthless husband (Fuller Mellish), and is given to a wealthy family.

Sarah devotes her life to an effort to regain her son, during which time she becomes a celebrated opera singer. The estimable Fredric March co-stars as the friendly lawyer, who handles the case and helps Sarah finds her son.

In the climax. Sarah’s son wakes up from a state of coma to find both his birth mother and adoptive one at his bedside. Guess which one he goes for

“Sarah and Son” broke all box-office records at the Paramount Theatre in New York, and Ruth Chatterton became known as “the First Lady of the Screen.”

Chatterton lost the Oscar to MGM’s then favorite lady, Norma Shearer in “The Divorcee.”