Bad Girl (1931)

88 or 90 mins | Drama | 13 September 1931

Director:

Frank Borzage

Cinematographer:

Chester Lyons

Editor:

Margaret Clancy

Production Designer:

William Darling

Production Company:

Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

This film marked the screen debut of stage actor James Dunn. According to modern sources, director Frank Borzage originally wanted Spencer Tracy for the male lead, but the studio refused. The file for Bad Girl in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library contains an evaluation of the novel on which the film is based, dated 16 Nov 1928, by Hays Office official Lamar Trotti, who said: "'Bad Girl' might be produced as a sex hygiene picture called 'Motherhood.' It is simply the story of girl who is 'bad' for one night, marries the boy the next day, and then has a baby." Trotti called the novel a "nauseating story of doctors, illnesses, etc." and said that the book "disgusted" him and was "cheap and shoddy writing about cheap and shoddy people." The MPAA/PCA file also indicates that prior to Fox's purchase of the rights to the story, a number of motion picture companies, including Pathé, M-G-M and Universal, had considered but ultimately declined to produce the film. Correspondence between the Hays Office and various producers between 1929 and 1930 indicates that the companies were strongly urged not to make a film based on the Delmar story and play because it would undoubtedly be "too censorable." By May 1931, however, Fox presented the Hays Office with a treatment of the story that apparently met with its approval, for only a handful of relatively minor changes were suggested. In Jul 1931, Trotti, after seeing a preview of the completed film, said that it was the "best picture since sound came in...it is a marvelous job and will do the industry untold good." According ... More Less

This film marked the screen debut of stage actor James Dunn. According to modern sources, director Frank Borzage originally wanted Spencer Tracy for the male lead, but the studio refused. The file for Bad Girl in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library contains an evaluation of the novel on which the film is based, dated 16 Nov 1928, by Hays Office official Lamar Trotti, who said: "'Bad Girl' might be produced as a sex hygiene picture called 'Motherhood.' It is simply the story of girl who is 'bad' for one night, marries the boy the next day, and then has a baby." Trotti called the novel a "nauseating story of doctors, illnesses, etc." and said that the book "disgusted" him and was "cheap and shoddy writing about cheap and shoddy people." The MPAA/PCA file also indicates that prior to Fox's purchase of the rights to the story, a number of motion picture companies, including Pathé, M-G-M and Universal, had considered but ultimately declined to produce the film. Correspondence between the Hays Office and various producers between 1929 and 1930 indicates that the companies were strongly urged not to make a film based on the Delmar story and play because it would undoubtedly be "too censorable." By May 1931, however, Fox presented the Hays Office with a treatment of the story that apparently met with its approval, for only a handful of relatively minor changes were suggested. In Jul 1931, Trotti, after seeing a preview of the completed film, said that it was the "best picture since sound came in...it is a marvelous job and will do the industry untold good." According to contemporary news items in FD , a lawsuit was filed against Fox in Aug 1931 by stage producer Robert V. Newman, who claimed that he sold Fox the rights to the story with the stipulation that the picture not be released until 1 Sep 1931. Newman also sued the Roxy Theatre, where the film had its premiere and first run. The injunctions were eventually denied by the Supreme Court, which said that "no substantial damage" had been done by releasing the film earlier.
       In 1931, Fox also produced a Spanish-language version of Bad Girl - see record for Marido y mujer . Bad Girl was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture of 1931. Frank Borzage won an Academy Award for Best Direction, and Edwin Burke received an award for his screen adaptation. Bad Girl was also voted one of the Ten Best Pictures of 1931 by FD 's nationwide poll of film critics. A 1940 Twentieth Century-Fox remake of Bad Girl , entitled Manhattan Heartbeat , was directed by David Burton and starred Robert Sterling and Virginia Gilmore. A 1948 LAT news item announced that actors Dan Dailey and Jeanne Crain were set to star in a remake of this film, but there is no indication that this planned remake was ever filmed. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
9 Aug 31
p. 10.
Film Daily
18 Aug 31
p. 1.
Film Daily
20 Aug 31
p. 1.
HF
6 Jun 31
p. 20.
HF
4-Jul-31
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jul 31
p. 4.
International Photographer
31 Oct 31
p. 28.
Los Angeles Times
25 Aug 1931
p. 11.
Motion Picture Herald
18 Jul 31
p. 38.
Motion Picture Herald
26 Sep 31
p. 27.
New York Times
15 Aug 31
p. 18.
Variety
18 Aug 31
p. 30.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITER
Cont and dial
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
PRODUCTION MISC
Gen press rep
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Bad Girl , by Viña Delmar (New York, 1928) and the play of the same name by Viña Delmar and Brian Marlowe (New York, 2 Oct 1930).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Marido y mujer
Release Date:
13 September 1931
Premiere Information:
World premiere in New York: 14 August 1931
Los Angeles opening: 25 August 1931
Production Date:
1 June--4 July 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
18 July 1931
Copyright Number:
LP2388
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
88 or 90
Length(in feet):
8,046
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

While being fitted for a wedding gown, dress model Dorothy Haley complains to another model that she always falls prey to lecherous men like her boss, Mr. Cochran, who tries to get her to go on a drive with him. To ward off her unwanted suitors, Dorothy tells them that her husband is a jealous prizefighter. One day, at an amusement park, Dorothy's friend Edna Driggs introduces her to Eddy Collins, a radio salesman whom Edna considers a rarity among the male species, in that he does not flirt with every woman he sees. After meeting Dorothy, the disaffected Eddy tells her that "if you don't want guys to salute you, take down your flag." Intrigued by Eddy, Dorothy tries to woo him by playing the ukelele for him, but he shows little interest in her and claims that "if a guy makes a pass at you, you call the police; if he doesn't, you call out the army." Eventually, Eddy and Dorothy end up dating, but when Eddy discovers that Dorothy lives in a crowded tenement, he snobbishly tells her that he is not geared for a life of scrimping. Later, Eddy brags to his co-workers that he will never marry and that he plans to own his own store. After spending a late evening out with Eddy, Dorothy returns home to face the admonition of her strict brother Jim, who is the orphaned girl's guardian. When Dorothy accepts Eddy's marriage proposal without consulting her brother, Jim angrily kicks her out of the house. Dorothy goes to Eddy's for refuge, but is shocked when she discovers that he has moved out of his ... +


While being fitted for a wedding gown, dress model Dorothy Haley complains to another model that she always falls prey to lecherous men like her boss, Mr. Cochran, who tries to get her to go on a drive with him. To ward off her unwanted suitors, Dorothy tells them that her husband is a jealous prizefighter. One day, at an amusement park, Dorothy's friend Edna Driggs introduces her to Eddy Collins, a radio salesman whom Edna considers a rarity among the male species, in that he does not flirt with every woman he sees. After meeting Dorothy, the disaffected Eddy tells her that "if you don't want guys to salute you, take down your flag." Intrigued by Eddy, Dorothy tries to woo him by playing the ukelele for him, but he shows little interest in her and claims that "if a guy makes a pass at you, you call the police; if he doesn't, you call out the army." Eventually, Eddy and Dorothy end up dating, but when Eddy discovers that Dorothy lives in a crowded tenement, he snobbishly tells her that he is not geared for a life of scrimping. Later, Eddy brags to his co-workers that he will never marry and that he plans to own his own store. After spending a late evening out with Eddy, Dorothy returns home to face the admonition of her strict brother Jim, who is the orphaned girl's guardian. When Dorothy accepts Eddy's marriage proposal without consulting her brother, Jim angrily kicks her out of the house. Dorothy goes to Eddy's for refuge, but is shocked when she discovers that he has moved out of his boardinghouse, and that he is no longer employed at his job. Eddy later finds Dorothy and tells her that any wife of his will have to quit her job because he wants to be the sole breadwinner. Dorothy consents to his terms, but soon decides that she wants to go back to work. Eddy surprises Dorothy one day when he takes her on a tour of a beautiful apartment and then tells her that he spent all his money to buy the place for them. Dorothy then surprises Eddy when she tells him that she is going to have a baby. Determined to provide only the best for his new wife and the baby-to-come, Eddy seeks the services of Dr. Burgess, a renowned physician, to care for his wife during her pregnancy. Eddy, however, is unable to afford Dr. Burgess' expensive fees, and decides to ask his pal Joe to fix him up in a fight in order to make some extra money. Exhausted from working nights and fighting fights for ten dollars a round, Eddy pleads with his opponent, Mike, not to knock him out because his wife is expecting a child. Mike, who has two children of his own, empathizes with Eddy and takes the fall himself. Because Eddy is busy making extra money, he is not at home when Dorothy goes into labor, and as a result, Dorothy thinks he does not care about her. When Eddy finally shows up at the hospital, Dorothy immediately thinks that he has been beaten up in a barroom brawl and scorns him. Following Dorothy's delivery of a baby boy, Dr. Burgess announces that he will donate his services to the young couple, and starts a fifty-dollar savings account for the infant. Later, Dorothy becomes hysterical when she cannot find her child in the hospital. As soon as the baby is found, however, Dorothy realizes that Eddy also loves the baby and the two reconcile. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.