Born to Be Bad (1950)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Film-Noir

Born to Be Bad (1950) Poster

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.


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5 October 2011 | jimjo1216
"Somebody should've told the birds and bees about you!"
I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed BORN TO BE BAD (1950). The plot, about a woman who infiltrates a circle of friends and destroys their relationships, suggests a lot of melodrama. But the movie is buoyed by an excellent cast of characters and a script that sparkles with wit.

There is drama, to be sure, but there's some nice humor that comes from the characters and their relationships with one another. Nothing gets so serious that somebody pulls a gun or commits suicide or anything. There are no shrill histrionics. The movie is a little racy for Hayes Code fare, but it's not terribly dark or gritty. It's a rather pleasant tale about a selfish woman who only hurts herself in the end.

Robert Ryan is great as the cynical, rough-edged author. Mel Ferrer is great as the witty painter. Joan Fontaine is lovely as always as the maneater who conceals her scheming behind a façade of sweet innocence. This is a sexier, sneakier Joan Fontaine than viewers may be accustomed to. Joan Leslie, still only twenty-five, is fine in her adult role, after years of playing ingenues. Zachary Scott rounds out the principal cast as Leslie's rich fiancé.

Nicholas Ray deftly handles the directing duties, in both the busy party scenes and the noir-ish love scenes.

The movie isn't very deep or compelling, but it is very watchable thanks to the terrific performances and some wonderfully witty lines. Robert Ryan steals the show.

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