Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bad Girl (1931)

Directed by: Frank Borzage

Starring: Sally Eilers and James Dunn

Plot: A young couple rushes into marriage unsure about the other's feelings regarding children.

Thoughts: Bad Girl was a bit of a misnomer. Unless the "bad girl" was the young woman rushing into marriage, there wasn't really a bad girl to be found. That said, I didn't think this particular film was worthy of nomination. It was an okay film, but it was hardly a compelling story nor did it contain particularly remarkable direction.

Based on Vina Delmar's novel and the subsequent play, Fox billed this film as the "greatest love story since Seventh Heaven" (which Borzage also directed). Not sure if I'd go that far, but it wasn't a terrible way to while away an hour and a half. I really don't have much to say about this film; it was just kind of there. The acting was competent, the character relationships were portrayed well, and the dialogue was good. However, the film just felt ordinary to me. Perhaps that was the point; I don't know.

Like Seventh Heaven, Bad Girl was a film rarely seen outside of academia until December when Fox released the Murnau, Borzage, and Fox Collection. It was never released on VHS or laserdisc.

Inexplicably, Frank Borzage won Best Director, beating out King Vidor for The Champ and Josef von Sternberg for Shanghai Express (which we'll cover next week). Bad Girl also won Best Writing, Adaptation, for Edwin J. Burke's screenplay. Considering it was up against Arrowsmith and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I guess the win shouldn't be terribly surprising.


  1. From the sound of it, it seems like the misleading title was a marketing ploy, perhaps to get male viewers to see a romantic film with their girlfriends/wives.

  2. It certainly got ME interested.

  3. Sea: Given the wonderfully misleading poster, that's certainly plausible.

    Siskoid: You and me both, friend.