IMDb > The Bad Sister (1931)
The Bad Sister
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The Bad Sister (1931) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 17% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Edwin H. Knopf (adaptation)
Edwin H. Knopf (dialogue)
View company contact information for The Bad Sister on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 March 1931 (USA) See more »
She was a bad, bad girl - but Oh! how Good at the box office! (Trade paper ad). See more »
Marianne falls in love with a con artist who has a hidden agenda. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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(2 articles)
Win a DVD bundle of Hollywood Classics
 (From HeyUGuys. 18 April 2016, 12:00 AM, PDT)

Bette Davis on TCM: The Old Maid; Now, Voyager; The Working Man
 (From Alt Film Guide. 3 August 2011, 2:18 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
The film debut of Bette Davis See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Conrad Nagel ... Dr. Dick Lindley

Sidney Fox ... Marianne Madison

Bette Davis ... Laura Madison

Humphrey Bogart ... Valentine Corliss

Charles Winninger ... Mr. Madison

Emma Dunn ... Mrs. Madison

Zasu Pitts ... Minnie

Slim Summerville ... Sam

Bert Roach ... Wade Trumbull

David Durand ... Hedrick Madison
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Mary Alden ... Minor Role (uncredited)

King Baggot ... Policeman on Street (uncredited)
Sammy Blum ... Dave - Townsman / Investor (uncredited)

Helene Chadwick ... Amy, Sam's Wife (uncredited)

Grace Cunard ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Charles Giblyn ... Townsman / Investor (uncredited)
Payne B. Johnson ... Baby (uncredited)
Cornelius Keefe ... New Father in Hospital (uncredited)

Cyril Ring ... Doctor (uncredited)
Will Walling ... Townsman / Investor (uncredited)
Dick Winslow ... Paper Boy (uncredited)

Directed by
Hobart Henley 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Edwin H. Knopf  adaptation (as Edwin Knopf)
Edwin H. Knopf  dialogue (as Edwin Knopf)
Edwin H. Knopf  screenplay (as Edwin Knopf)
Tom Reed  adaptation
Tom Reed  screenplay
Raymond L. Schrock  adaptation
Raymond L. Schrock  screenplay
Booth Tarkington  novel "The Flirt"

Produced by
Carl Laemmle Jr. .... producer
Cinematography by
Karl Freund 
Film Editing by
Ted J. Kent  (as Ted Kent)
Art Direction by
Walter Koessler  (as Walter R. Koessler)
Sound Department
C. Roy Hunter .... recording supervisor
Editorial Department
Maurice Pivar .... supervising editor
Music Department
David Broekman .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Other crew
Carl Laemmle .... presenter
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
68 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Did You Know?

Bette Davis' first film.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Round About Hollywood (1931)See more »


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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
The film debut of Bette Davis, 1 January 2014
Author: kevin olzak ( from Youngstown, Ohio

1931's "The Bad Sister" is chiefly remembered as being the film debut of screen legend Bette Davis, who spent a few despondent months at Universal that year before finding greener pastures at Warner Bros. The title role, however, went to Sidney Fox, also making her movie debut, but in a quirk of fate, Universal's star push on her behalf instead of Davis resulted in Sidney's career ending in three years, while 'the good sister' was being hailed as a star. Not only did Universal miss the boat on these two actresses, they failed to see the potential in 4th billed Humphrey Bogart, who followed Davis to Warners playing essentially the same role he does here, a smooth-talking, big city con man who preys upon the citizens of Central City Ohio, with Miss Fox forging her father's signature to cinch the swindle. Top billing goes to doctor Conrad Nagel, naively in love with 'bad sister' Sidney, when it's 'good sister' Bette secretly in love with him. Bette herself despaired over this film, convinced she had no future in pictures; the virginal 23 year old is effectively deglamorized, dressed like a grape picker's daughter, hair tightly bound in a bun, yet those 'Bette Davis Eyes' remain intact, yearning desire behind them. I myself was curious to see more of the diminutive Sidney Fox, inexplicably top billed over Bela Lugosi in 1932's "Murders in the Rue Morgue" (reuniting her with Bert Roach), but remained entranced by Bette Davis instead; and to think Carl Laemmle Jr. famously said of her in this film, "she has about as much sex appeal as Slim Summerville!" (he too is in the picture).

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