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|Index||13 reviews in total|
I think this film is terrific. What starts off with a B movie feel swiftly shifts gears into an A grade melodrama with very strong moral dilemma and emotional logic, this First national WB Vitaphone picture is very rewarding for anyone remotely interested in the technical era of talkies in 1932. There are IMDb comments that spew on this film which I find puzzling, and I encourage you to read the excellent and informative review by 'rsoonsa' also on this site. Personally I was constantly surprised at the storyline and loved every minute of seeing and hearing the fabulous genuine Vitaphone (gramophone record) sound. The sound editing and camera smoothness and many lavish sets and the camera movement about them was of particular interest because this film is so deliberately experimental in furthering the ability to capture and record and be sophisticated in its presentation. With a great cast and the gorgeous Loretta Young front and center... and with hilarious Una Merkel (as Dixie Dare...!) you are in for a treat of pre code proportions with solid and exciting production values, humor and storyline. Other comments can tell you the story line, I just want to encourage you to see this film and have 70 minutes of constant surprises.... both technically and as entertainment.
A startlingly mature teenage Loretta Young stars in this fast-moving melodrama as Marion Cullen, a songwriter who leaves her Kansas home for New York City to shape a career in show business and to follow the man she loves, Jimmy Decker (David Manners), a salesman whose business junket to her home town has tied their hearts together. Decker, however, is betrothed to another (Helen Vinson) and Marion discovers that success in her new profession benefits from a relationship with Ford Humphries (Louis Calhern), an influential producer but a libertine whose demands upon her include more than her ability to craft tuneful pieces for the stage. Decker, now married, continues to harbour his love for Marion, as does his best friend, medical doctor Tony Travers (George Brent) and it remains for the young musician to decide which of the three men she will choose and what sort of position she will prefer for herself, that as mistress, wife, or other woman. Graceful Loretta Young is asked to provide acting skill instead of solely her superb bone structure, and she does so to good result in mosaical scenes, displaying a full range of emotions while making them believable and, of course, is a perfect mannequin for the Orry-Kelly gowns with which she is raimented. David Manners must rely upon more than his profile here, and the stage-trained actor performs creditably, specially so in airy scenes, while silky George Brent and shrewd Louis Calhern execute their roles well; it is Una Merkel as Dixie Dare, Marion's Gotham companion, who nearly steals the show with her rendering of a salty-mouthed, high-stepping chorus girl. The entire production benefits from the extensive cinematic background of director Thornton Freeland who utilizes an interesting assortment of camera angles, is responsible for the crisp cutting and editing and handles his extras with sureness, with only the abrupt final minutes barring the work from achieving a higher aesthetic plane.
A small-town Kansas girl encounters hard luck & happiness
she follows her true love to New York City.
Aided by an excellent cast, THEY CALL IT SIN is a superior soap opera which delivers just enough sentiment & humor to keep the attention of most viewers. While the heroine's change of affection in the final scene is never really explained, this doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the film. Particularly commendable are the sequences set in the Merton park, with the softly playing ukulele setting a gentle romantic mood.
Beautiful Loretta Young is radiant as the sweet young thing who follows her dreams to the Big City. Doe-eyed & innocent, her purity is nicely countered by brassy, sassy Una Merkel, cartwheeling through her role as a chorus girl who doesn't take nonsense from anyone. Suave doctor George Brent & earnest businessman David Manners are both very fine in their roles as the fellows who adore Miss Young.
Helen Vinson plays Manners' wealthy fiancée. Elizabeth Patterson scores in her small role as Miss Young's spiteful mother.' Louis Calhern plays the proper scoundrel as a lecherous theatrical producer.
Movie mavens will recognize an uncredited Roscoe Karns as a sarcastic dance rehearsal director. Marion Byron delivers some funny moments as the Merton soda jerk.
"They Call it Sin" is a 1932 film starring Loretta Young, George Brent,
Una Merkel, Louis Calhern and David Manners. It's about a small-town
beauty named Marion who falls in love with a man, James Decker
(Manners) passing through town. He is engaged to another woman. It
doesn't stop him, however, from falling in love with Marion. After a
row with her parents and finding out she's adopted, Marion heads for
New York, hoping to do something with her musical talent, and looks up
Decker. Disillusioned upon learning he's engaged, she eventually takes
up with a producer (Louis Calhern) who has a bad reputation as far as
women are concerned. When he realizes she's in love with someone else,
he fires her from his show and steals the music she wrote. Trouble
Una Merkel plays dancer Dixie Dare, Marion's roommate, and she's a riot - wait until you catch her dance act sans the cartwheels she was hired to do. George Brent is a doctor friend of Manners who finds himself falling for Marion. All in all, it's a very attractive cast. As was the style in the early '30s, Loretta is blonder here than most people will remember her. The luminous Young is gorgeous in a series of outfits. Some people criticize her acting - I have always found her very natural and believable.
There was nothing new even in 1932 about the young girl in the big bad city, but the cast makes this film fresh and holds one's attention. It's not a long movie, but for the time it lasts, it's entertaining.
This film caught my attention immediately because of the great actors in this film and Loretta Young, (Marion Cullen) who looked so radiant as a church organist in a very small church. David Manners plays the role as Jimmy Decker who comes from a rich family and is an engaged man to his boss's daughter. Jimmy Decker visits Kansas and walks into a church and is struck by the beauty of Marion Cullen who plays the hymns: "On Ward Christian Soldiers" and "Rock of Ages" which seem to captivate his heart strings. Jimmy gets deeply involved with Marion and she gets into a problem with her mother and father and they tell her she is an adopted girl and they do not think she is a good Christian and in many ways disown her. Marion runs off to New York City and seeks out Jimmy Decker and then the trouble starts for this couple in love. Great film and George Brent, (Dr. Tony Travers) gave a great supporting role. Enjoy.
This is an amazing one to see, especially for early days of the actors we're more familiar with decades later. Was Louis Calhern ever young? Even here, he has a very mature look. There's a very placid and pleasing Loretta Young, mostly philosophic, never very ruffled for long by the twists and turns that come her way. Her wild roomie, Una, is no end of fun, getting ruffled enough for the both of them. David Manners caught my eye and looked for other movies with him, his having left Hollywood after less than a decade or so in favor of stage work. Very handsome young man, who reminded me of Jeffrey Lynn, who also wasn't around very long, in his case, to pursue another career altogether. George Brent transfers his usual low key portrayal from the last time you saw him. Surprisingly lively and interesting older movie.
The film's title, taken from a popular novel of the day, is misleading
as there's no sin on display, unless you think Una Merkel in her undies
is censorable. This is one of the 4 films on Forbidden Hollywood Vol 4,
and the provocative title led me to expect a story of unwed motherhood,
ala Constance Bennett, and so I came close to not watching it. But
luckily I did pop it into the DVD player.
The film has an interesting script that doesn't go where you think it will and the 3 male leads, who are all vying for the love of Loretta, even the suave Calhern before he turns vindictive, are likable. Despite 2 unbelievable episodes - Loretta's confession followed by Calhern's confession - my enjoyment of this film remained intact. And the major deliverer of enjoyment is Loretta. No wonder 3 men are in love with this beautiful, talented songwriter, who is also very nice. But there's more to Loretta's character than a pretty face, talent, and a sweet disposition. This girl has confidence, courage, and determination, just what a cinema role model should possess, which apparently are qualities Loretta possessed off screen as well, qualities that raised her from ingenue to star. While Loretta's expressive face is good to look at, with the fresh and lively dialogue written for her, she's good to listen to as well. And it was a pleasure to see Loretta behave well under the onslaught of various shocks and setbacks. Happily, in the end, due to our heroine's abundance of common sense and goodness, she won for herself a worthy husband, and, I feel certain, regained ownership of her hit song.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hot. Hot. Hot. A younger Calhern than I had seen, he of Buffalo Bill. A
dancing Una Merkel, as in 42nd St. or Golddiggers (the one with Ginger
Rogers).... Great. Calhern a definite masher, an unlovable scoundrel.
Manners in the beginning plays a cad, leading Marion on in lieu of Enid, but later Manners is pretty truthful with Enid and has dropped the cad stuff. This is an inconsistency in the plot.
All in all, entertaining. Pre-code: word "jackass", which Tony says will be referred to a "veterinary". Hilarious. More pre-code: Una's slip top showing nipples.
"They Call It Sin": I was looking in the dialogue from the adoptive parents or the preacher or someone: to say something was sinful. The mother said something like that, but I didn't hear any of that actual sentence spoken as in the name of the movie.
Loretta great here. Good timing. Great innocence-playing. I thought Ford even wanted Marion in the chorus, what with her good legs as he was eyeing her up and down. Good thing Una and Loretta both left Ford's show, because he probably didn't pay them much -- even though the second digs, the "swell ones" looked pretty expensive. Maybe off-screen, Marion was putting out for Ford and we were not supposed to officially know that. As Una said, "Take all you can," or something like that.
One more thing, cad that Jimmie was at the beginning: near the end, I was surprised when he did not want to "be with" Marion outside of his marriage to Enid.
They Call it Sin (1932)
*** (out of 4)
A New York business man (David Manners) goes to a small farm town to close on a deal and meets a young woman (Loretta Young). Even though he has a fiancé back in NY, the two quickly fall in love but when he has to go back the woman follows him, which just leads to more problems. This is a rather charming romantic drama, which features some fine performances as well as several nice romantic touches. Both Young and Manners are terrific together with Young bringing that beauty to the screen, which always works well with her tender touch as an actress. This is also the best I've ever seen Manners who manages to be very charming and sweet without going over the top. George Brent and Una Merkel add nice support. Being a Warner film, there's an added murder subplot added on towards the end, which really wasn't needed but the film ends in an unexpected way, which makes up for that silly turn.
These pre-code women's films are fun to watch, smoothly produced, given
handsome production values and luminous close-ups of youthful, innocent
looking LORETTA YOUNG (more beautiful as a blonde ingenue than she
appeared in the '40s). She gets sturdy support from GEORGE BRENT as the
doctor who shares a romantic interest in her with David MANNERS, a
married man who admits loving Loretta up until the last reel. For
comedy relief, UNA MERKEL has her usual supporting role (she was the
Jane Wyman of supporting roles, always the heroine's best friend,
throughout the '30s).
The story has an ambitious young rehearsal pianist and songwriter getting involved with shady showman LOUIS CALHERN and toying with the affections of Brent and Manners while Calhern wants her to be his mistress. The predictable ending has Loretta winding up with Brent and sending Manners back to his wife. ("You can't build happiness on another's unhappiness", she tells him).
It's the kind of fare that audiences during the Depression era probably fancied. Watching it, it's easy to see why Loretta Young was such a capable beauty, already quite a professional by the time she made this soaper.
Summing up: A pleasant trifle, easily forgotten.
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