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Illicit (1931)

A young couple lives together out of wedlock, but they find that they're ahead of their time.


Archie Mayo


Edith Fitzgerald (by), Robert Riskin (by) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Anne Vincent
James Rennie ... 'Dick' Ives II
Ricardo Cortez ... Price Baines
Natalie Moorhead ... Margie True
Charles Butterworth ... Georgie Evans
Joan Blondell ... Helen 'Duckie' Childers
Claude Gillingwater ... Ives Sr.


Ann, a young lady of scandalously "advanced" ideas, has been living in near-sin with blueblood lover Dick, due to her conviction that marriage will destroy their love. Finally, social pressure forces them to marry; in due course, it looks as if Ann was right. Her solution: to separate and return to dating. Can this marriage be saved? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


WHO WAS RIGHT? Can a woman hold a man without marriage? See more »


Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 February 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ilícito See more »


Box Office


$249,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Brunswick Radios Used Exclusively)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The play was copyrighted 1 July 1930, but had no New York City Broadway production. See more »


As Dick and Anne are walking out of the kitchen, about five minutes into the film, a moving shadow of the boom microphone is visible on the wall to the left. See more »


Anne Vincent Ives: Well, you don't give me very much choice, do you? Looks like I'll either have to pick you up or lay you down.
See more »


Version of Ex-Lady (1933) See more »


Maybe It's Love
(1930) (uncredited)
Music by George W. Meyer
Lyrics by Sidney D. Mitchell and Archie Gottler
Whistled by James Rennie
Hummed and sung by Barbara Stanwyck
See more »

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User Reviews

The Theory is Talked to Death and Never Parts
7 September 2014 | by LeonLouisRicciSee all my reviews

The Theory, Should Lovers Marry or Not is Endlessly Talked and Talked in this Pre-Coder that Benefits from the First Starring Role for Barbara Stanwyck and She is Up to the Task of Looking Spunky and Frustrated, Randy and Depressed with Alternating Scenes as the Movie Bounces off the Walls with Theories and More Theories Batted Around..."What do Theories have to do with love?" Stanwyck Asks. Exactly.

Most of the Pre-Code Fun is in the First Act as the Movie Uncomfortably Moves All Over the Place with Dry Discussions, Wordy Arguments, and Not Much Else. In All of this Soap Opera Seriousness it is Charles Butterworth as a Witty Drunk Steals Every Scene. Ricardo Cortez is a One Note Bore, but Joan Blondell and Natalie Moorehead do Add Some Spice to the Dreariness and Moorehead's Margie Confronting Stanwyck about "Dick" is a Highlight.

Overall, Pre-Code Watchers are Likely to be Disappointed After the First Few Scenes. Lovers of Staged Dialog and Glittery Costumes Might Find it More Appealing. Yes, the Virtues of Marriage as the Preferred Lifestyle Managing to Squeeze the Sex Dry is an Edgy Subject and would Vanish in a Few Years from the Screen, but this is a Slog of a Story that Could Have been Summed Up in a One Act Play.

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