Born to Be Bad (1950)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir  |  27 August 1950 (USA)
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Reviews: 38 user | 16 critic

Christabel fools everyone with her sweet exterior including her cousin Donna and Donna's wealthy fiancée Curtis. The only one who sees through her facade is Nick, a rugged writer who loves ... See full summary »



(screen play) (as Edith Sommer) , (adaptation), 3 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Zachary Scott ...
Harold Vermilyea ...
John Caine
Virginia Farmer ...
Aunt Clara
Kathleen Howard ...
Mrs. Bolton
Dick Ryan ...
Bess Flowers ...
Mrs. Worthington
Joy Hallward ...
Mrs. Porter
Hazel Boyne ...
Committee Woman
Irving Bacon ...
Jewelry Salesman
Gordon Oliver ...
The Lawyer (scenes deleted)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jack Chefe ...
Man (scenes deleted)


Christabel fools everyone with her sweet exterior including her cousin Donna and Donna's wealthy fiancée Curtis. The only one who sees through her facade is Nick, a rugged writer who loves her anyway. Christabel also loves Nick, but she loves Curtis' money more. After convincing Curtis that Donna is only interested in him for his money, she tricks Curtis into marrying her. Of course, she still dallies with Nick on the side. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The rare and racy adventures of a female savage in a jungle of intrigue. See more »


Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

27 August 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

All Kneeling  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film had two endings. Director Nicholas Ray raised the issue of a director's right to final cut, and at this time the collective contract with directors did not stipulate this right. See more »


woman at party: Do you think my husband would like a picture of me hanging above the fireplace?
Gabriel 'Gobby' Broome: I think your husband would like you hanging anywhere.
See more »


Spoofed in The Carol Burnett Show: Episode #7.13 (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

Joan Fontaine is the classic lovely manipulator
17 February 2000 | by (Astoria, NY) – See all my reviews

If you've enjoyed Joan Fontaine's endearing performances in REBECCA or SUSPICION, check out this movie for an entirely different turn of character.

Joan plays Christabel, a woman with nice curves who's got all the angles, too. She's a classic manipulator, and the fun of the movie is watching her try to keep up her false appearances as she runs recklessly through the lives around her -- society friends, sick relatives, a thin-mustached rich playboy, and the rugged novelist guy who sees through her and loves her still.

The performance is one of shifting eyes, deceptive wheels turning inside the lovely Christabel's head, trying to recall which lie she told to whom. Fontaine retains a sense of mystery about her, because you keep wondering to what end is all this manipulation, anyway -- does Christabel even know? A consummate liar, she also remains a bit sympathetic through it all: you get the sense of someone who has played so many contradictory roles that she's kind of a lost soul.

As for the story itself, it's pretty good; and the supporting characters are merely okay. But really, they're just pins set up for Christabel to upset. Sit back and watch her go.

So, if you're like me and wanted to reach out and protect Joan in her Hitchcock movies, try BORN TO BE BAD. She's just as lovely (those doe-eyes will make you want to believe her) -- only hold onto your heart, and your wallet.

32 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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