6.7/10
1,697
46 user 21 critic

Born to Be Bad (1950)

A woman's attempt to appear innocent and sweet clashes with her lover who sees through her act and the wealthy man she tries to trick into marrying her.

Director:

Nicholas Ray

Writers:

Edith Sommer (screen play), Charles Schnee (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Failed singer Marian Washburn confesses she shot her friend, successful singer Susan Caldwell, but her manager Luke Jordan and Detective Fowler doubt her story and cannot establish a reasonable motive.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Maureen O'Hara, Melvyn Douglas, Gloria Grahame
Ivy (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An Edwardian belle meets a rich bachelor, but what to do about her husband and her lover?

Director: Sam Wood
Stars: Joan Fontaine, Patric Knowles, Herbert Marshall
Split Second (1953)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Two escaped killers take hostages and hide in a Nevada mining ghost town knowing that an atom bomb is scheduled to be tested there the next morning.

Director: Dick Powell
Stars: Stephen McNally, Alexis Smith, Jan Sterling
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Fourteen-year-old Tessa is hopelessly in love with handsome composer Lewis Dodd, a family friend. Lewis adores Tessa, but has never shown any romantic feelings toward her. When Tessa's ... See full summary »

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Charles Boyer, Joan Fontaine, Brenda Marshall
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A novelist aided by his future father-in-law conspires to frame himself in the murder of a stripper as part of an effort to ban capital punishment.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Dana Andrews, Joan Fontaine, Sidney Blackmer
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Rough city cop Jim Wilson is disciplined by his captain and is sent upstate, to a snowy mountain town, to help the local sheriff solve a murder case.

Directors: Nicholas Ray, Ida Lupino
Stars: Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Ward Bond
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An attorney defends a hoodlum of murder, using the oppressiveness of the slums to appeal to the court.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, John Derek, George Macready
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

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 »

Directors: Lowell Sherman, Jack Conway
Stars: Loretta Young, Cary Grant, Jackie Kelk
Certificate: Passed Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A female blackmailer with a disfiguring facial scar meets a plastic surgeon who offers her the possibility of looking like a normal woman.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas, Conrad Veidt
The Racket (1951)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In New York, two honest cops try to hinder a crime syndicate from moving into the precinct and also to prevent the mob's plan of electing a corrupt prosecutor to a judgeship.

Directors: John Cromwell, Mel Ferrer, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Lizabeth Scott, Robert Ryan
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Youthful tough Johnny Stone has fallen under the influence of petty crook Frank Wilson, who involves him and robbery and murder using his sister's boyfriend's stolen gun.

Director: Lewis Seiler
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Gale Page, Billy Halop
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A young would-be actor seeks his first break.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: José Ferrer, Shelley Winters, Elaine May
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Joan Fontaine ... Christabel
Robert Ryan ... Nick
Zachary Scott ... Curtis
Joan Leslie ... Donna
Mel Ferrer ... Gobby
Harold Vermilyea ... John Caine
Virginia Farmer ... Aunt Clara
Kathleen Howard ... Mrs. Bolton
Dick Ryan Dick Ryan ... Arthur
Bess Flowers ... Mrs. Worthington
Joy Hallward Joy Hallward ... Mrs. Porter
Hazel Boyne Hazel Boyne ... Committee Woman
Irving Bacon ... Jewelry Salesman
Gordon Oliver ... The Lawyer
Edit

Storyline

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 <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Baby-faced Savage in a jungle of intrigue! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 August 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

All Kneeling See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Christabel Caine Carey: I've always wanted to know someone who went to China, tell me about it.
Nick Bradley: A lot of Chinese live there.
See more »

Connections

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Citizen Hughes
20 July 2006 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

Director Nicholas Ray managed to take his revenge on RKO's Howard Hughes with this real life "Citizen Kane". Hughes was obsessively pursuing Joan Fontaine whose post WWII career was going nowhere. Like Hearst's intervention in Marion Davies' career, Hughes got Fontaine the lead in Ray's "Born To Be Bad" and then meddled in the production to insure that the film became a promotional vehicle for her.

Whatever Ray may have thought of this it was not a complete disaster. Although the 32 year- old Fontaine is not credible in the role of a young business school student, if you suspend disbelief about the age factor, her performance is the equal of Anne Baxter's in "All About Eve". The same thing could be said of Davies; while her career was mismanaged by Hearst's inappropriate casting, her talent was still able to shine through.

Although not given final cut, Ray somehow was able to turn "Born To Be Bad" into a self- parodying melodrama that reflected much of the Hughes-Fontaine relationship. Even making Fontaine's mark (wealthy Curtis Carey-played by Zachary Scott) into a Hughes look- alike, complete with pencil mustache and a passion for flying.

Unlike Orsen Welles, Ray made a lot of women's pictures, a quality "Citizen Kane" does not share with "Born To Be Bad". Fontaine plays master manipulator Christabel Caine (not Kane), not quite a sociopath but a woman with little sign of a conscience. Unlike most of these women's pictures, it is the men who she has trouble fooling with her innocent act. Cunning gay artist Gobby (Mel Ferrer)) finds her a kindred spirit and novelist Nick (Robert Ryan) is turned on by her greed and lack of moral/ethical boundaries.

Ray has Fontaine play the character in a nice self-parodying style that actually makes her somewhat sympathetic to the viewer, at least for those who can take a guilty pleasure watching her turn on the charm. Unlike her sister, the eternally earthy Olivia deHavilland, age made Fontaine brittle and well suited to villainess roles. With cute little smiles and feigned reaction shots Fontaine keeps the film vicious for its entire length.

Like Ray's "Johnny Guitar", this is a film about two women, one good and one bad (there is no subtlety), who vie for the same man. It is a battle of Joans, as Donna is played by gorgeous Joan Leslie ("Sgt. York"). Donna is a publishing house editor, postwar America was still adjusting to the vocational progress women had made during the war. But the evil Christabel explicitly rejects career opportunities (one can't imagine her contributing to the war effort) in favor of setting herself up for life by landing a rich husband she can set up for a lucrative divorce settlement.

Leslie and Ferrer are especially good in the film. Leslie gives the only restrained performance, which is more powerful because it contrasts so sharply with the overplayed performances Ray gets from the rest of his cast.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.


45 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 46 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed