6.3/10
859
23 user 8 critic

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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, (uncredited)

Writers:

(story and screenplay), (continuity)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Jackie Kelk ...
Mickey Strong
Marion Burns ...
Mrs. Alyce Trevor
...
Fuzzy
...
Attorney Brian
...
Steve Karns
...
Adolph - Letty's Lawyer
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Storyline

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 May 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nascida para o Mal  »

Box Office

Budget:

$252,238 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

 
Interesting mainly for the performances of Young and Grant...
25 July 2012 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Loretta Young looks angelically beautiful as an immoral young woman, radiant in all of her many close-ups. Her eyes have such an innocent beauty despite the fact that her character is supposed to have the sort of hard edge usually assigned to Harlow or Crawford. The story asks us to believe she had an early pregnancy from a man who deserted her and left her with a bratty son whom she smothers with mother love while garbed in glamorous clothes.

It also asks us to accept Cary Grant as a wealthy millionaire who takes pity on her situation and invites the boy to live with him in his posh home in the country. Grant seems a bit ill at ease here, and clearly had not yet fully developed his typical Cary Grant persona. Still, it's interesting to see both he and Loretta cast against type in this kind of story.

I don't agree with harsh words about Jackie Kelp's performance as her son. I found him reasonably believable in the part although he did look more than the supposed seven years. Loretta's scheme is to ingratiate herself with Grant so that she can steal the boy back even though Grant can give him everything.

The weak, abrupt ending is probably due to production code etiquette which was still having a hard time with all the sordid ingredients implied by the script. It's an unsatisfying ending for a story that could have been developed with more care for the downbeat ending.

Minor characters are very underdeveloped, notably that of Henry Travers as Young's loyal friend.

Summing up: More of a curiosity piece for Loretta Young's fans than anything else--and she was definitely a vision of beauty in her early 20s.


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