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Born to Be Bad (1934)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 18 May 1934 (USA)
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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Complete credited cast:
Jackie Kelk ...
Mickey Strong
Marion Burns ...
Mrs. Alyce Trevor
Attorney Brian
Steve Karns
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 <dwdunlap@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

18 May 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nascida para o Mal  »

Box Office


$252,238 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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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 »

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User Reviews

Just watch the clothes, not the story line
25 July 2012 | by (Texas) – See all my reviews

This movie is worth watching if only for the costumes. Loretta Young's hair is soft, shiny, straight at the top and fuzzy and curly at the bottom. It's a virtually impossible hair style to achieve. Her acting is stellar, her figure so razor thin,yet still feminine and curvy. This was before there were anything but natural fibers, and the cloth used to make the costumes in the movie looks like liquid silver and gold. Cary Grant is a little weak, hair plastered down, no good dialogue for him. But he's still Cary Grant, so that's all you need to hold your attention completely. The little kid actor is awful, and worse, he's not even cute! He makes you want to turn away from the screen. Huge ears, huge nose, looks like he's already hit puberty--really embarrassing scene where he's in a tight swimming suit and his mother comments it looks like a girl. Also some icky scenes of what could only be described as family violence between the mother and the son. When the movie is over you say, "What!? It's over?" Then you start going over the last scene to see if you missed anything. Keep your eyes open in the last five minutes. Not that the surprise is anything but the abrupt ending, but you'll feel better if you were concentrating. Just sit back and get lost in those beautiful Loretta Young eyes, and ask yourself, "Are her eyes blue or violet?" *sigh* It's also a little disturbing when you think about how the movie is portending Loretta's own life. I really hate the character of the creepy little book store owner who is supposed to represent decency in Loretta's character's life. He just comes off as a perv. Also insulted by the antisemitism in what appears to be a crooked Jewish lawyer. Still rude even though it's 1934. I think Cary's wife is actually a strong character, though not well-developed. Probably most of her scenes ended up on the floor. Interesting use of the latest technology of the age--movies in the courtroom and recording in your own home. Must have been very space age at the time, and it's so fun to see the old 78 records you could break apart with your hands. It's a revealing slice of 1934 which shows that the human experience has not changed much in 75 years. But the movies have-where are those gorgeous movie stars?

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