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Born to Be Bad (1934)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  18 May 1934 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 781 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 7 critic

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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Title: Born to Be Bad (1934)

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Complete credited cast:
Jackie Kelk ...
Mickey Strong
Marion Burns ...
Mrs. Alyce Trevor
Paul Harvey ...
Attorney Brian
Russell Hopton ...
Steve Karns
Harry Green ...
Adolph - Letty's Lawyer


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

18 May 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nascida para o Mal  »

Box Office


$252,238 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

young Loretta, young Cary, pre-code - who could ask for more?
30 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Well, a little LENGTH might have helped. This is a short film but a fascinating one - it's pre-Code and Loretta Young plays a tramp. It's also a pairing of two of the golden era's stars before they really hit the big time.

I don't think Young was the best actress in the world but boy, was she beautiful. A face like a cameo, and she was early 20s in this. She plays an unwed mother who lives off of sugar daddies. She sees the mother lode when her brat son gets hit by a truck.

Though the con doesn't work, Loretta's child is adopted by millionaire Cary Grant and his wife - or soon to be ex-wife if Young, hot on another scheme, has anything to say about it.

In her TV show, Young experimented more with "against type" characters. This hard, street smart woman is a departure for her in film, and she does a good job. Grant in this has not yet matured into his incredible looks or his screen persona, but he is effective. This film is worth seeing for a glimpse of these stars as they were before they "made it." And for Young's clothes and rare, radiant beauty.

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