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My Sin (1931)

Passed  -  Drama  -  3 October 1931 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 50 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 2 critic

In Panama, notorious nightclub hostess Carlotta kills a man in self-defense and is arrested for murder. Defending her at her trial is Dick Grady, a lawyer who has wasted his talent on ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Carlotta / Ann Trevor
...
Dick Grady
...
Roger Metcalf
Scott Kolk ...
Larry Gordon
Anne Sutherland ...
Mrs. Gordon
Margaret Adams ...
Paula Marsden
Lily Cahill ...
Helen Grace
Jay Fassett ...
James Bradford
...
Juan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eric Blore ...
Barfly
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Storyline

In Panama, notorious nightclub hostess Carlotta kills a man in self-defense and is arrested for murder. Defending her at her trial is Dick Grady, a lawyer who has wasted his talent on alcohol. When he proves Carlotta's innocence, however, he regains respect and employment. Dick goes to Carlotta's apartment to thank her, and arrives just in time to keep her from committing suicide. He agrees that while the persona of Carlotta must die, the woman inside must go on and start anew. Loaning her his advance money, Carlotta and Dick create a new identity for her as "Ann Trevor," and she moves to New York. Through various letters and repayment checks, Dick learns that Carlotta is happy and successful and falls in love with her. He relocates to New York, where Carlotta is employed as an interior decorator and is engaged to wealthy Larry Gordon. Carlotta is happy to see Dick again, but is dismayed to learn that he is in love with her. Dick believes she is deceiving Larry because she does not ... Written by denzoid

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Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

3 October 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Meu Pecado  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Trivia

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »

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User Reviews

 
True love is the salvation of MY SIN
19 October 2006 | by (NYC suburbs) – See all my reviews

On a visit to Panama, Roger Metcalfe (Harry Davenport), the president of Metcalfe Oil, is given a tour of the local hot-spots by an employee permanently stationed there. Metcalfe finds the semi-tropics "exotic", but is told that the heat and monotony can make people "come apart". Just then, "Exhibit A" walks into the cantina. Dick Grady (Frederic March), once a Harvard football star and lawyer ten years before, is now a derelict. The female of the species is the "hostess" of the cantina, an American named Carlotta (Tallulah Bankhead). When she's introduced to Metcalfe she says she can't shake hands as both of hers are full of "the only things that matter": a wad of bills, a cigarette and a drink. Later that night, Carlotta shoots her pimp and is charged with murder. When no reputable lawyer is willing to represent her, Grady sobers up, takes the case and gets her acquitted. Metcalfe, impressed with Grady's performance, offers him a job while Carlotta, shunned by the women of the town and evicted from her apartment, tries to kill herself. Grady stops her just in time and suggests she only kill off the Carlotta in her. They decide to call her "Ann Trevor" and he stakes her $500 so she can make a new start in New York. Over time, Grady is transferred to Mexico and Ann becomes a successful Manhattan interior decorator. Grady realizes he's in love with Ann who is half-a-world away and being pursued by, and falling for, wealthy blue-blood Larry Gordon (Scott Kolk). In New York on business, Grady meets up with Ann and she's shocked when he tells her he loves her. Ann loves Larry and it's Grady's turn to be shocked when Ann tells him she has no intention of telling Larry of her past. One week before the wedding, at a dinner party with Larry and his socialite mother, Ann is introduced to Larry's uncle ...Roger Metcalfe! Will "Carlotta" be exposed? Can "Ann" brazen it out?? Can love truly conquer all???

Of Tallulah Bankhead's five starring roles during 1931-32, two were set below the equator, two played out in the concrete jungle of Manhattan and MY SIN is split between both. Bankhead's Pre-Code forte was the "woman's picture" with all it's romance, suffering and melodramatic angst. Not as sleek as Kay Francis or as chic as Constance Bennett, Tallulah still managed to make her own distinctive mark on the already overcrowded genre. Her allure can best be described as "shopworn chic" with the battered-but-not-defeated heart that goes with it. In MY SIN (Bankhead's third film for Paramount) her "look" and "niche" were still being refined. Bejewelled, be-furred and gowned by Travis Banton, with her hair slicked back during the Manhattan dinner party, Tallulah photographed better than she did in her two previous outings. Her make-up, all crimson lips and huge mascara-ed eyes, is reminiscent of Joan Crawford. She gets a chance to show off her svelte figure and gorgeous gams in satin and lace step-ins and an Art-Deco-design bathing suit. Her distinctive voice is showcased too, as she warbles a jazzy "scat" ditty called "Crazy Tom" while sitting on the bar in the cantina. Bankhead shone best when given a leading man who was capable of sharing acting honors with her and Frederic March fills the bill nicely. The plots of most of her films seem ripped from the then-current "True Confessions" pulp magazines and this one is no exception. Women could relate to the double standard that her character had to endure. There are some interesting ironies concerning the stigma attached to the fallen. When Grady sobers up, he's hailed and rewarded with a prestigious job with Metcalfe Oil. When Carlotta (as "Ann") turns over a new leaf she has to live in constant fear of being exposed. When Grady can't believe Ann isn't going to come clean with Larry before the wedding, she tells him that it was he himself who said to "kill off Carlotta" and make a new start without looking back. He tells her, "Yes...but I never thought THIS would happen!" Hmmm... There's a telling moment when Ann, torn as to whether or not to marry Larry, sees an organ-grinder in the street and gets a flashback to the Panama cantina. She decides she can never marry anyone. The "sin" in MY SIN is Bankhead's past AND it's cover-up. There's many romantic ups and downs and quite a few melodramatic (and suspenseful) moments where Tallulah gets a chance to reely emote. One standout is the killing of her pimp. Accident or murder? The audience hears the shots from outside Carlotta's window and can draw it's own conclusions. During her trial it comes out that Carlotta was once a college co-ed who the scoundrel pretended to marry so he could take her to South America and prostitute her. He seemed so thoroughly reprehensible that it doesn't really matter whether she intended to shoot him ...but even more shocking (in another standout scene) is the dinner party's reactions when Ann is slowly being exposed as Carlotta by Metcalfe. He tells Larry and his mother of a certain notorious woman who was tried for murder in Panama and the disgust and disdain they feel towards "a woman like that", no matter what her extenuating circumstances, gives audience sympathy to Ann. A man can triumph over a sordid past but never a woman. Only when Ann finally sees what was in front of her all along does she have the courage to go forward, marry the man she really loves and move right into the plush, hypocritical neighborhood of those who'd scorn her. MY SIN is one of the more intriguing films in the Pre-Code Bankhead canon. Hokey and predictable, with any number of outrageous co-incidences, it's still a lot of fun and highly recommended ...especially for Tallulah-heads.


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