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Gotta love these pre-code Loretta Young movies
blanche-214 December 2007
"They Call it Sin" is a 1932 film starring Loretta Young, George Brent, Una Merkel, Louis Calhern and David Manners. It's about a small-town beauty named Marion who falls in love with a man, James Decker (Manners) passing through town. He is engaged to another woman. It doesn't stop him, however, from falling in love with Marion. After a row with her parents and finding out she's adopted, Marion heads for New York, hoping to do something with her musical talent, and looks up Decker. Disillusioned upon learning he's engaged, she eventually takes up with a producer (Louis Calhern) who has a bad reputation as far as women are concerned. When he realizes she's in love with someone else, he fires her from his show and steals the music she wrote. Trouble follows.

Una Merkel plays dancer Dixie Dare, Marion's roommate, and she's a riot - wait until you catch her dance act sans the cartwheels she was hired to do. George Brent is a doctor friend of Manners who finds himself falling for Marion. All in all, it's a very attractive cast. As was the style in the early '30s, Loretta is blonder here than most people will remember her. The luminous Young is gorgeous in a series of outfits. Some people criticize her acting - I have always found her very natural and believable.

There was nothing new even in 1932 about the young girl in the big bad city, but the cast makes this film fresh and holds one's attention. It's not a long movie, but for the time it lasts, it's entertaining.
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Zippy pre code WB hit.
ptb-827 November 2007
I think this film is terrific. What starts off with a B movie feel swiftly shifts gears into an A grade melodrama with very strong moral dilemma and emotional logic, this First national WB Vitaphone picture is very rewarding for anyone remotely interested in the technical era of talkies in 1932. There are IMDb comments that spew on this film which I find puzzling, and I encourage you to read the excellent and informative review by 'rsoonsa' also on this site. Personally I was constantly surprised at the storyline and loved every minute of seeing and hearing the fabulous genuine Vitaphone (gramophone record) sound. The sound editing and camera smoothness and many lavish sets and the camera movement about them was of particular interest because this film is so deliberately experimental in furthering the ability to capture and record and be sophisticated in its presentation. With a great cast and the gorgeous Loretta Young front and center... and with hilarious Una Merkel (as Dixie Dare...!) you are in for a treat of pre code proportions with solid and exciting production values, humor and storyline. Other comments can tell you the story line, I just want to encourage you to see this film and have 70 minutes of constant surprises.... both technically and as entertainment.
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Let it get going, the plot weaves around these four solid actors nicely
secondtake12 April 2014
They Call It Sin (1932)

One of many really good Loretta Young films from this era. She's young and energized and makes a great lead. This story of a sweet country girl being swept off her feet by a genuinely nice man must have struck to the core of women all over the country. Nothing extraordinary here, but all in all well done and compact.

There are parts of the film that feel like it's an early talkie—they are a bit stiff— but there are many more parts, especially with Young, that are so fresh and alive they feel almost contemporary. The other big name is George Brent, more famous for many low key roles next to Bette Davis, and it's fun to see him so young here. But it's actually the two other leading actors —there are four—who match Young for energy on the screen. One is the other man, a common kind of actor (David Manners) with believable energy. The second is a sassy woman who supports Young through her travails, Una Merkel.

So in all they make a fast and strangely interwoven group. You won't find the sexually suggestive layers of other pre-Code films here, even though some rules are seemingly broken. But you will find a freshness, if not intensity, that keeps this breezy drama going. They call it entertainment.
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A bare minimum of frippery results in a very effective feature.
rsoonsa12 March 2002
A startlingly mature teenage Loretta Young stars in this fast-moving melodrama as Marion Cullen, a songwriter who leaves her Kansas home for New York City to shape a career in show business and to follow the man she loves, Jimmy Decker (David Manners), a salesman whose business junket to her home town has tied their hearts together. Decker, however, is betrothed to another (Helen Vinson) and Marion discovers that success in her new profession benefits from a relationship with Ford Humphries (Louis Calhern), an influential producer but a libertine whose demands upon her include more than her ability to craft tuneful pieces for the stage. Decker, now married, continues to harbour his love for Marion, as does his best friend, medical doctor Tony Travers (George Brent) and it remains for the young musician to decide which of the three men she will choose and what sort of position she will prefer for herself, that as mistress, wife, or other woman. Graceful Loretta Young is asked to provide acting skill instead of solely her superb bone structure, and she does so to good result in mosaical scenes, displaying a full range of emotions while making them believable and, of course, is a perfect mannequin for the Orry-Kelly gowns with which she is raimented. David Manners must rely upon more than his profile here, and the stage-trained actor performs creditably, specially so in airy scenes, while silky George Brent and shrewd Louis Calhern execute their roles well; it is Una Merkel as Dixie Dare, Marion's Gotham companion, who nearly steals the show with her rendering of a salty-mouthed, high-stepping chorus girl. The entire production benefits from the extensive cinematic background of director Thornton Freeland who utilizes an interesting assortment of camera angles, is responsible for the crisp cutting and editing and handles his extras with sureness, with only the abrupt final minutes barring the work from achieving a higher aesthetic plane.
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Racy Title; Tame Enough Script
misctidsandbits28 December 2012
This is an amazing one to see, especially for early days of the actors we're more familiar with decades later. Was Louis Calhern ever young? Even here, he has a very mature look. There's a very placid and pleasing Loretta Young, mostly philosophic, never very ruffled for long by the twists and turns that come her way. Her wild roomie, Una, is no end of fun, getting ruffled enough for the both of them. David Manners caught my eye and looked for other movies with him, his having left Hollywood after less than a decade or so in favor of stage work. Very handsome young man, who reminded me of Jeffrey Lynn, who also wasn't around very long, in his case, to pursue another career altogether. George Brent transfers his usual low key portrayal from the last time you saw him. Surprisingly lively and interesting older movie.
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Glossy Soaper
Ron Oliver20 February 2004
A small-town Kansas girl encounters hard luck & happiness when she follows her true love to New York City.

Aided by an excellent cast, THEY CALL IT SIN is a superior soap opera which delivers just enough sentiment & humor to keep the attention of most viewers. While the heroine's change of affection in the final scene is never really explained, this doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the film. Particularly commendable are the sequences set in the Merton park, with the softly playing ukulele setting a gentle romantic mood.

Beautiful Loretta Young is radiant as the sweet young thing who follows her dreams to the Big City. Doe-eyed & innocent, her purity is nicely countered by brassy, sassy Una Merkel, cartwheeling through her role as a chorus girl who doesn't take nonsense from anyone. Suave doctor George Brent & earnest businessman David Manners are both very fine in their roles as the fellows who adore Miss Young.

Helen Vinson plays Manners' wealthy fiancée. Elizabeth Patterson scores in her small role as Miss Young's spiteful ‘mother.' Louis Calhern plays the proper scoundrel as a lecherous theatrical producer.

Movie mavens will recognize an uncredited Roscoe Karns as a sarcastic dance rehearsal director. Marion Byron delivers some funny moments as the Merton soda jerk.
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Loretta Young was so Beautiful
whpratt111 December 2007
This film caught my attention immediately because of the great actors in this film and Loretta Young, (Marion Cullen) who looked so radiant as a church organist in a very small church. David Manners plays the role as Jimmy Decker who comes from a rich family and is an engaged man to his boss's daughter. Jimmy Decker visits Kansas and walks into a church and is struck by the beauty of Marion Cullen who plays the hymns: "On Ward Christian Soldiers" and "Rock of Ages" which seem to captivate his heart strings. Jimmy gets deeply involved with Marion and she gets into a problem with her mother and father and they tell her she is an adopted girl and they do not think she is a good Christian and in many ways disown her. Marion runs off to New York City and seeks out Jimmy Decker and then the trouble starts for this couple in love. Great film and George Brent, (Dr. Tony Travers) gave a great supporting role. Enjoy.
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They left the sin on the cutting room floor
judy t25 October 2013
The film's title, taken from a popular novel of the day, is misleading as there's no sin on display, unless you think Una Merkel in her undies is censorable. This is one of the 4 films on Forbidden Hollywood Vol 4, and the provocative title led me to expect a story of unwed motherhood, ala Constance Bennett, and so I came close to not watching it. But luckily I did pop it into the DVD player.

The film has an interesting script that doesn't go where you think it will and the 3 male leads, who are all vying for the love of Loretta, even the suave Calhern before he turns vindictive, are likable. Despite 2 unbelievable episodes - Loretta's confession followed by Calhern's confession - my enjoyment of this film remained intact. And the major deliverer of enjoyment is Loretta. No wonder 3 men are in love with this beautiful, talented songwriter, who is also very nice. But there's more to Loretta's character than a pretty face, talent, and a sweet disposition. This girl has confidence, courage, and determination, just what a cinema role model should possess, which apparently are qualities Loretta possessed off screen as well, qualities that raised her from ingenue to star. While Loretta's expressive face is good to look at, with the fresh and lively dialogue written for her, she's good to listen to as well. And it was a pleasure to see Loretta behave well under the onslaught of various shocks and setbacks. Happily, in the end, due to our heroine's abundance of common sense and goodness, she won for herself a worthy husband, and, I feel certain, regained ownership of her hit song.
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They Missed a Chance at Classic Romance
wes-connors9 January 2015
New York-based traveling salesman David Manners (as James "Jimmy" Decker) arrives in a Kansas small town, on business. Out seeing the local sights, Mr. Manners immediately arouses soda counter clerk Marion Byron. He brushes her off and meets beautiful farmer's daughter Loretta Young (as Marion Cullen) playing her organ, in church. The two are mutually attracted, but Ms. Young's exacting foster parents do not approve when she comes home at midnight. Called "common trash," Young follows Manners back to New York City...

Young and Manners find it difficult to deny their continuing attraction. However, he remains engaged to his boss' daughter. Young also dates Manners' doctor friend George Brent (as Tony Travers) and her amorous boss Louis Calhern (as Ford Humphries). A tragedy threatens Young's prospects for happiness...

Both the credit order and certain plot developments consider Mr. Brent to be Young's leading man. But, the focal characters are Young and Manners. However the original novel proceeded, their performances make them the leads. Having the story change direction is disarming, due to the appeal in pairing Young and Manners. Cartwheeling showgirl Una Merkel (as Dixie Dare) has fun as Young's roommate. The tragic incident is nicely handled by director Thornton Freeland and the crew. After that, the characterizations and story unravel.

***** They Call It Sin (11/5/32) Thornton Freeland ~ Loretta Young, David Manners, Una Merkel, George Brent
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Racy pre-code
gkeith_112 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Hot. Hot. Hot. A younger Calhern than I had seen, he of Buffalo Bill. A dancing Una Merkel, as in 42nd St. or Golddiggers (the one with Ginger Rogers).... Great. Calhern a definite masher, an unlovable scoundrel.

Manners in the beginning plays a cad, leading Marion on in lieu of Enid, but later Manners is pretty truthful with Enid and has dropped the cad stuff. This is an inconsistency in the plot.

All in all, entertaining. Pre-code: word "jackass", which Tony says will be referred to a "veterinary". Hilarious. More pre-code: Una's slip top showing nipples.

"They Call It Sin": I was looking in the dialogue from the adoptive parents or the preacher or someone: to say something was sinful. The mother said something like that, but I didn't hear any of that actual sentence spoken as in the name of the movie.

Loretta great here. Good timing. Great innocence-playing. I thought Ford even wanted Marion in the chorus, what with her good legs as he was eyeing her up and down. Good thing Una and Loretta both left Ford's show, because he probably didn't pay them much -- even though the second digs, the "swell ones" looked pretty expensive. Maybe off-screen, Marion was putting out for Ford and we were not supposed to officially know that. As Una said, "Take all you can," or something like that.

One more thing, cad that Jimmie was at the beginning: near the end, I was surprised when he did not want to "be with" Marion outside of his marriage to Enid.
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Lots of potential sinners, but no real sin
calvinnme30 May 2011
There is really nothing here that couldn't have been shown in the production code era. In fact it could be a training film on how to make a seemingly sensational film in the production code era without any of the protagonists actually sinning.

Loretta Young is lovely as always as Marion, an amateur composer from a small Kansas town who heads for New York to pursue both a career in music and Jimmy, a man she loves whom she doesn't know is engaged to someone else. Fortunately, once in New York, she makes the acquaintance of chorus girl Dixie Dare (Una Merkel), a gold digger with a heart of gold, and physician Tony Travers (George Brent) who also just happens to be Jimmy's best friend. Not so fortunately she makes the acquaintance of Broadway producer Ford Humphries (Louis Calhern). When he finds he can't steal Marion's heart he steals her songs instead, claiming he wrote them himself and putting them in his show without reimbursing her. Meanwhile, Jimmy has gone through with his marriage but can't get Marion off of his mind. Tony also loves Marion and proposes. All of these story lines converge dramatically. How? Watch and find out.

The only real sinner here is Calhern as the slimy Humphries - he was an excellent villain in many films through the years - the devil in a three piece suit. It is rather implied that Marion might be sleeping with Humphries since he is paying the rent on her apartment, but their scenes together with her wiggling out of all of his embraces as though he were a squid makes me wonder. Una Merkel is a delight as Marion's loyal friend and steals every scene as she cartwheels - literally - through the film. Oddly enough George Brent is second billed when he actually gets very little screen time.

Rather sad is Marion Byron, an actress who played supporting parts similar to Una Merkel in the very early talkie era, who by this time was reduced to uncredited roles. Here she is a spunky soda jerk in the small Kansas town who flirts with Jimmy and gets nowhere.

Recommended for anyone who enjoys the Warner precodes of the era.
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Good soaper with luminous Loretta Young and stalwart George Brent...
Neil Doyle10 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
These pre-code women's films are fun to watch, smoothly produced, given handsome production values and luminous close-ups of youthful, innocent looking LORETTA YOUNG (more beautiful as a blonde ingenue than she appeared in the '40s). She gets sturdy support from GEORGE BRENT as the doctor who shares a romantic interest in her with David MANNERS, a married man who admits loving Loretta up until the last reel. For comedy relief, UNA MERKEL has her usual supporting role (she was the Jane Wyman of supporting roles, always the heroine's best friend, throughout the '30s).

The story has an ambitious young rehearsal pianist and songwriter getting involved with shady showman LOUIS CALHERN and toying with the affections of Brent and Manners while Calhern wants her to be his mistress. The predictable ending has Loretta winding up with Brent and sending Manners back to his wife. ("You can't build happiness on another's unhappiness", she tells him).

It's the kind of fare that audiences during the Depression era probably fancied. Watching it, it's easy to see why Loretta Young was such a capable beauty, already quite a professional by the time she made this soaper.

Summing up: A pleasant trifle, easily forgotten.
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She's a small town girl with a big city mind.
mark.waltz14 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The gorgeous Loretta Young is playing the organ in her small town Kansas church when city slicker David Manners pops in and even stays after church to ogle her. He's on his way to California from New York on business, popping into town long enough to try and wrap up part of his business deal before finalizing it on the other side of the country. She's the only child of a very religious woman (Elizabeth Patterson) who must go to an earlier service, because she isn't at the one where Young is playing, and is thus always under the moralistic thumb of a self-righteous woman. After Young stays out until midnight with Manners, she has a confrontation with her mother who reveals some ugly truths, and instantly, she's on the next train to Manhattan. Once there, she learns that Manners is already engaged to wealthy snob Helen Vinson and disappears on both Manners and his kindly doctor friend (George Brent at his most noble), turning up at a lecherous producer's office where she gets a job playing piano at his newest show's rehearsals. With the help of her new friend Una Merkel (outrageous as a cartwheeling flirt), she turns her life around, but producer Louis Calhern obviously has other plans for her, ultimately betraying her which results in a violent demise.

This fast moving pre-code drama is aided by the attractiveness of its three stars (Young, Manners and Brent), with fine support by Merkel, Patterson (quite nasty for a change of pace), Calhern and Vinson. A funny moment in the Kansas sequences has Manners being flirted with by a desperate counter girl who is quite upset when Manners later shows up with Young and makes her indignation unknown. The confrontation scenes between Young and Patterson (and later Young and Calhern) shows that there is a tiger in this small town girl's tank, and she is not going to let anybody mess around with her unless she wants to be messed with. While far from a perfect film, this is still one of the more direct and crisp Warner Brothers "girls gone wild" dramas of the year, and in a year which boasted Barbara Stanwyck, Ruth Chatteron, Kay Francis, Joan Blondell, Glenda Farrell and in her first year at the studio, Bette Davis, Young is certainly the most feminine and lovely. I appreciate her in this era more than her overly lady-like characters of the 1940's and 50's because indeed, she was much more identifiable, and in real life wasn't "Atilla the Nun" whom she became later on. Crisp dialog abound ("What's more curious than a woman? Two women!") and solid direction add to the art deco settings (even the country side with its swan-visited pond is gorgeous) and quick moving photography. Definitely a winner, if not a classic.
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Very, very good (though not very racy) pre-code film
vincentlynch-moonoi25 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
First off, this is always portrayed as a pre-code film, which it is, but always mentioning that aspect gives one the impression it's going to be pretty racy. Well, aside from Una Merkel running around scantily dressed for a minute or so, there's nothing very racy here.

But what is here is a really good early-1930s film, at a time when many films were rather poorly written and not always well acted.

It starts out looking rather boring when a junior business man from New York City chats up a church organist in a small town and begins romancing her, even though he already is engaged. He, of course, returns to NYC and his fiancée. Meanwhile, the organist has a quarrel with her "mother", only to learn that she was adopted and was really the daughter of less-than-satisfactory parents. She flees the small town, goes to NYC to find the businessman, only to discover he is engaged. She begins to work in show business on the musical side, and a less than savory producer has designs on her...but nothing really happens. He fires her, but steals her music. The businessman and the producer quarrel, and the producer stumbles off a balcony, resulting in a head injury that ultimately kills him. Will the businessman go to prison? Or will the organist since she has confessed to the crime to shield the businessman? The plot works well, and turns out to be rather engaging after the early part of the film.

Loretta Young is, as always, simply beautiful, and plays her part to perfection. George Brent is very good as the surgeon who eventually marries her. Una Merkel is delightful as Young's friend and an entertainer, and I might add that Merkel is a somewhat forgotten, yet wonderful character actress. David Manners is quite good as the junior businessman. Louis Calhern is very good as the producer, and he plays the role...not overdoing it, but hitting the part just right.

If you like early movies, I recommend this one. Louis Calhern as Ford Humphries
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experimental pre code melodrama
Dunham1619 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
What makes this film worth watching is experimentation with seemingly modern camera angles, a tight ensemble cast and elegant cinematography depicting postcard rural and urban life. Though the plot sketch mimics moral melodrama the underlying premise is hard to grasp. Each character in the tight ensemble feels they are doing the right thing and the storyboard seems to move to give each their just desserts yet they all engage in actions many consider improper - THEY CALL IT SIN. As one example Loretta Young as the the heroine is unjustly thrown out on the street in Kansas to then be unjustly fired from a New York City job for refusing sexual favors from a boss who steals her ticket to fame - her wonderful music compositions. While we feel sorry for her character and think she deserves a happy ending much of what she does and how she handles the final scene would be considered sinful in the 1934 Hays code. This seems the template for the dichotomy of each and very fictitious character in the ensemble cast.
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Pre-Code Sin
Michael_Elliott28 February 2008
They Call it Sin (1932)

*** (out of 4)

A New York business man (David Manners) goes to a small farm town to close on a deal and meets a young woman (Loretta Young). Even though he has a fiancé back in NY, the two quickly fall in love but when he has to go back the woman follows him, which just leads to more problems. This is a rather charming romantic drama, which features some fine performances as well as several nice romantic touches. Both Young and Manners are terrific together with Young bringing that beauty to the screen, which always works well with her tender touch as an actress. This is also the best I've ever seen Manners who manages to be very charming and sweet without going over the top. George Brent and Una Merkel add nice support. Being a Warner film, there's an added murder subplot added on towards the end, which really wasn't needed but the film ends in an unexpected way, which makes up for that silly turn.
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Rather forgettable but well made
MartinHafer23 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
In the so-called "Pre-Code" era of the late 20s up to 1934, Hollywood's standards for films were very ill-defined and open to quite a bit of excess. While today we have this stereotype that films of the time were dull family-friendly movies, they often were far from it--featuring nudity, coarse language and very adult plots with a strong emphasis on sex. While not as explicit as films today, these films are still rather shocking today--particularly as they often conveyed the message that "nice girls DO" or that being a "bad girl" often paid off by the end of the film!! While Loretta Young later was known for a very virginal image (one she herself promoted strongly), her early films were often rather scandalous and could not be shown in the more conservative parts of the country. While this is not among the most salacious, this one did feature some content that would have been either forbidden or strongly punished had it appeared in film just a few years later--even though Miss Young was an innocent lady throughout the film.

The film begins with rich traveling salesman, David Manners, stumbling into a small town and becoming intoxicated by Loretta's charms. She is extremely smitten as well and soon decides to leave this crappy Kansas town (sorry Kansas, but that's how it IS portrayed here). She heads to New York to surprise Manners but is shocked to find out he is engaged! He apparently wanted to "have his cake and eat it too" as the saying goes! Saddened by this, she decides to devote her energies to making a career in music. Unfortunately, she comes to the lecherous Louis Calhern for a job. He just wants to steal her music and bed poor Loretta! When Manners find out about this, he and Calhern get into a fight and Calhern falls off his balcony!! People think Manners did this deliberately and it looks pretty bad for him until the end.

By the way, although he and Loretta received top billing, George Brent was strangely absent during much of the film and seemed almost "tacked on" as an after-thought. Rarely is he given so little to do in a starring role and so I just don't feel it's worth discussing his insignificant part.

Overall, the film abounds with sexual innuendo, bad playboyish behavior and Loretta spending most of the film finding out that many men are pigs. While nowhere nearly as sexually charged as contemporary films like RED HEADED WOMAN, it is nevertheless a good example of Pre-Code morals and plotting--and the title is exactly what you'd expect for this type of film. Too bad that apart from some good acting performances the film is so ordinary.
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Pre-Code but prissy -- with gorgeous Young
David (Handlinghandel)23 December 2007
The first shot of Loretta Young finds her playing the organ at the church in her small town. She wears a hat with a wide brim: She turns and faces us, still playing. And she looks like a homegrown but rare flower.

She had a slightly weak chin but generally, Young was one of the loveliest looking women in the history of Hollywood.

She gets out of the small town here. David Manners, there on business,n helps motivate this move.

In Manhattan she runs into all sorts of characters Louis Calhern: He is a bad guy. George Brent: Did he ever play a less than admirable character? Una Merkel is perky if you like the type. And Helen Vinson is restrained as Manners's fiancée.

It's definitely a women's picture. The situations are somewhat racy. But it isn't much fun. Or, in the end, very interesting.
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A small town girl survives the big city
SimonJack18 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Viewers drawn to this film by its title and who are looking for something racy may be disappointed. But, for everyone else, "They Call it Sin" should be an entertaining film. Other reviewers have noted its air of melodrama. But, I don't think it quite fits to call it soap opera. It's a tale of a small town girl leaving home for the big city and opportunities. And, of a young man who falls for her, and a friend who also falls for her. And, of a villain who would compromise her innocence.

But, this young woman has promise as a musician and composer. And her departure is on the heels of learning that she was raised by people who were not her parents and who despised her. The young man was a visitor to her small town – on business. He is engaged to be married, but doesn't tell the young woman. After she learns the bitter truth from her foster parents, she follows him to the big city.

The story unfolds from there as a type of love triangle with the two male friends, and a would-be Svengali as a stage producer who takes her under his wing with lustful plans in his mind and heart. How this plays out is a nice story and picture, and somewhat different than the usual movie scenario. The young woman doesn't sacrifice her virtue to get somewhere, and the story has a fitting ending.

The cast is loaded with stars and talent of the time. Loretta Young is the young woman, Marion Cullen. David Manners is Jimmy Decker, the young man Marion follows to the city. George Brent is Jimmy's friend, Dr. Travers. Louis Calhern is very good as the Svengali character, Ford Humphries. But look for a change of his character toward the end. Others of the cast are very good. Una Merkel is Dixie Dare and Helen Vinson is Enid Hollister.

I enjoyed some other reviews in which one person said the sin parts of the film must have been left on the cutting room floor, and another who thought the script might have been changed. Still, a closer look might show some sin. For instance, Jimmy's affection (lusting?) for Marion, even after he's married. And, clearly, the spiteful, bitter attitude of the two people whom Marion had thought were her mother and father all her life. But obviously, the title for this film doesn't fit the finished product. Maybe it was just a ploy by Warner Brothers (First National Picture) in the hopes of drawing a big box office.

This film came out during the roughly four-year span before Hollywood's Hays Office began strictly enforcing its own Motion Picture Production Code in 1934. In that time, Tinseltown made a rash of racy films that only pushed the studios more to police themselves. It seems popular today to refer to the films of this period as "pre-code," and usually as though having some better quality, or being more entertaining. And, implying that the films that followed were the worst because of that. If anything, the opposite seems to be true, especially in comedy. Hollywood discovered that innuendo, suggestion and satire were powerful tools for entertaining, especially in comedy. Screwball comedy came to fore.

So, we have many great comedies of the 1930s since the code that may never have been such had it not been for the code. If anything, the code seemed to force writers and directors to be more creative, to write more clever scripts and dialog, and to make films funnier – all to get around roadblocks imposed by the code. Each year through the decade had several superb comedies, topped by such films as "It Happened One Night" of 1934, "A Night at the Opera" of 1935, "My Man Godfry" of 1936, "The Awful Truth" of 1937, "Bringing Up Baby" of 1938, and "Ninotchka" of 1939.

Many dramas, mysteries and other films were affected by the Hays Code as well. I think movie audiences benefited from the code while it was in effect. And Hollywood learned the power of innuendo and suggestion to entertain and tell a story with racy aspects. This film is a good drama that, although made during the "pre-code" days, is devoid of any raciness that would warrant its censure as intimated by its title.
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Pre-Code Softie Highlighted by a Spunky Una Merkle
LeonLouisRicci22 January 2015
Loretta Young was once considered a Beautiful Star in Hollywood for a Few Decades with substantial Acting Ability. When She gained enough Clout She would Flaunt Her Hypocritical Conservative Views Routinely and Intrusively.

Carrying around a Swear Box, for example, where Co-Stars were Required to "Feed the Kitty" anytime an Off Color Word would Dare be Uttered in Her Presence. She would Later Hide Her Illicit Affairs and Illegitimate Child from the World, all the while Professing to be a Good Catholic Woman.

But Early in Her Career She would Show Up in Pre-Code Movies like this one with Not Only "Sin" in the Title but Controversial Behavior on Screen. This is one of those "Pre-Coders" that doesn't quite Live Up to its Title. It's all Mostly Tame Stuff here, Fluffy and Easy Going.

The always Stiff David Manners is Her Suitor and after Loretta is Literally thrown Out on the Street for Staying Out Late in Her Kansas Hometown, and is Told Bluntly that She is the Daughter of a Tramp and was Adopted, Unruffled She Hops the Train to follow Manners to the Big Apple.

Things then Unfold at a Brisk and somewhat Unbelievable Soap Opera Pace as Truths are Revealed and Big City Showbiz Life is Cartwheeled through the otherwise Mundane Romantic Plot. Spunky and Breezy Una Merkel Steals Every Scene She's In, Dancing and Undressing to the Delight of Audiences and the Camera.

Worth a Watch for Pre-Code Completists, Loretta Young Fans, and for the Unforgettable Una Merkle Lingerie Show, but Don't let the Title Fool You, this is a Venial Sin Compared to others of its Type.
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