15 user 11 critic

The Bad Sister (1931)

Passed | | Drama | 29 March 1931 (USA)
Marianne falls in love with a con artist who has a hidden agenda.


Hobart Henley


Edwin H. Knopf (adaptation) (as Edwin Knopf), Edwin H. Knopf (dialogue) (as Edwin Knopf) | 6 more credits »


Learn more

More Like This 

Seed (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Bart is a clerk for a publishing company. He has written a novel. His wife Peggy and he have five children. Bart's former girlfriend, Mildred, is manager of the company's Paris office. She ... See full summary »

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: John Boles, Genevieve Tobin, Lois Wilson
The Menace (1932)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Ronald Quayle escapes from prison. He was sent there for murdering his father, based on the testimony of his stepmother, Caroline. An explosion disfigures him, but plastic surgery gives him... See full summary »

Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: H.B. Warner, Walter Byron, Bette Davis
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A socialite gets a divorce but can't keep out of her ex-husband's life.

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Ruth Chatterton, George Brent, Bette Davis
Hell's House (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Jimmy idolizes bootlegger Matt, and when he refuses to implicate his friend, he is sent to reform school. He befriends Shorty, a boy with a heart condition, and escapes to let the world know about the brutal conditions.

Director: Howard Higgin
Stars: Bette Davis, Pat O'Brien, Junior Durkin
Way Back Home (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Seth Parker takes in Robbie Turner and protects him from his cruel father Rube. When the father disappears, Seth intends to raise Robbie as his own son. The vindictive father attacks Mary ... See full summary »

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Phillips Lord, Effie Palmer, Frank Albertson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A prostitute's self-loathing makes her reluctant to marry an idealistic soldier during World War One.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Mae Clarke, Douglass Montgomery, Doris Lloyd
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After losing his hearing, a musician uses lip-reading to help others.

Director: John G. Adolfi
Stars: George Arliss, Bette Davis, Violet Heming
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Mary Donnell, a young legal secretary with a past, elopes with a client's son, but his father has the marriage annulled without knowing she's pregnant.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Anita Louise
Housewife (1934)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Nan Reynolds encourages her copywriter husband Bill to open his own agency. Nearly out of business, he finally gets a client. Former girlfriend Patricia Berkeley writes a very successful ... See full summary »

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: George Brent, Bette Davis, Ann Dvorak
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Racketeers flood the market with counterfeit cosmetics and drugs, causing some tragedies.

Director: John Francis Dillon
Stars: Charles Farrell, Bette Davis, Ricardo Cortez
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A tenant farmer's son is caught in the middle of owner-tenant disputes when he falls for the plantation owner's seductive daughter.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Richard Barthelmess, Bette Davis, Dorothy Jordan
So Big! (1932)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Following the death of Selena's father, she's offered a job as a teacher in a small town and a new chapter of her life begins.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Dickie Moore


Complete credited cast:
Conrad Nagel ... Dr. Dick Lindley
Sidney Fox ... Marianne Madison
Bette Davis ... Laura Madison
Humphrey Bogart ... Valentine Corliss
Charles Winninger ... Mr. Madison
Emma Dunn ... Mrs. Madison
Zasu Pitts ... Minnie
Slim Summerville ... Sam
Bert Roach ... Wade Trumbull
David Durand ... Hedrick Madison


Marianne falls in love with con man Valentine who uses their relation to get her father's endorsement on a money-raising scheme. He runs off with the money and Marianne, later dumping her. Her sister Laura loves Dr. Lindley although she knows he loves Marianne. Marianne returns and marries a wealthy young man, and Lindley turns his love toward Laura. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

con man | remake | based on novel | See All (3) »


Nothing succeeds like a Universal Picture! (Trade paper ad). See more »




Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

29 March 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gambling Daughters See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sidney Fox's first picture. See more »


Remake of The Flirt (1922) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Two legends in the supporting cast
25 December 2016 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Although this film contained the debut of one screen legend and early work of another, Bad Sister starred Conrad Nagel and in the title Sidney Fox. Knowing that Bad Sister was the debut film of Bette Davis, her legion of fans would most likely think she would be in the title role.

No, she's Fox's good and loyal sister, both are daughters of Charles Winninger. Winninger is the selected target of conman Humphrey Bogart that other screen legend. Bogart is looking for other suckers to invest in his non-existent factory. Winninger doesn't move so easily, Fox who's looking for excitement in her life goes all in. In fact she does something that puts Winninger in a real jackpot.

Conrad Nagel is the town doctor who kind of likes Fox, but one look at the Brillantine slicked Bogart and she can't see the dull old doc for beans. Quiet dependable Davis however really likes him.

It all works out in a kind of cop out ending which really spoils the whole film. Unusual for a film made before infamous Code.

Carl Laemmle the head of Universal Pictures who nearly bankrupted it by putting on a ton of relations missed a real money maker in Davis. I guess because she sat next to plumber Slim Summerville at a dinner sequence Laemmle famously remarked when cutting her loose that she had the sex appeal of Slim Summerville. It's part of Hollywood legend how Davis fought until she got roles that brought her 10 Oscar nominations and two of the statues. Bad Sister was the beginning of that struggle.

As for Bogart he made one trip west from Broadway and did about a dozen features for 1931-32 for various studios in supporting roles. Although he did some gangster parts and this one is certainly that of a crook on Broadway he did juvenile parts for the most part. When he came west a second time it was after he signed with Warner Brothers to repeat his stage role of Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest. The unshaven Bogart in that is the one we know. Here he's a crook, but he looks like Rudolph Valentino

Conrad Nagel was a star of silent films and as you see spoke well enough for sound. But he gradually slipped out of the A list. As for Fox she was a truly tragic story who became a multiple substance abuser and died young. She also appeared with Humphrey Bogart in 1934 in a film called Midnight shot in New York while Bogey was on Broadway.

Bad Sister is a mediocre film with a real cop out ending especially with what it was building up to. But it's a chance to see two screen immortals although in roles that you would find them strangely cast in.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 15 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed