Letty, a young woman who ended up pregnant, unmarried and on the streets at fifteen is bitter and determined that her child will not grow up to be taken advantage of. Letty teaches her ... See full summary »
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Letty, a young woman who ended up pregnant, unmarried and on the streets at fifteen is bitter and determined that her child will not grow up to be taken advantage of. Letty teaches her child to lie, steal, cheat and anything else he'll need to be street smart. We meet Letty when Mickey is 7-1/2. Mal enters the picture when his truck and Mickey, who is hanging on to the back of a delivery truck and being pulled along the streets on his roller skates, collide. Mickey is not injured badly, but when Letty discovers that Mal is rich, she concocts a scheme to take Mal to the cleaners. When her plot is uncovered, Letty is also discovered for the unfit parent that she is, and Mickey is taken away from her. Mal and his wife Alice, unable to have children of their own, take Mickey in and give him a father's love, a true mother's love, and a home he can call his own. Letty is jealous of Mickey's growing attachment to these two good people and she still sees Mal as a ticket to riches. Letty ... Written by
The film ran into censorship problems from the start, mainly from the character portrayed by Loretta Young and the skimpy clothes she wore. It was rejected twice by the Hays office before it was finally given an approval certificate, after several cuts and retakes (and all this before the Production Code was more rigorously enforced). Sidney Lanfield directed retakes on 10 November 1933 because director Lowell Sherman was on vacation; other retakes were made early in 1934. In 1935, the film was on a list at the Hays Office, of those films whose release should be halted, but it is not known if any action was ever taken. See more »
This film illustrates the havoc that was caused by the Hays code. Loretta Young tries her best to portray Joan Crawford in the bad-girl role, with little of Crawford's ability to show internal conflict and humor. Grant is adequate in his early cardboard handsomeness. The film, however, does not hold together, and has the look and feel of something that was taken apart and reassembled a number of times. Apparently Born to Be Bad ran into a lot of trouble with the censors, and was cut and tweaked to facilitate its release, leading to some mystifying gaps, puzzling voice-overs, and an ending which strains ones already diminished credibility. Still and interesting film to see for its historical value, being made on the cusp of an era which gutted movies of adult content and moral ambiguity.
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