Born to be Bad (1934)

A young woman has got a raw deal from her youth, decides to leave her job at a book store searching for money, and becomes a night club dancer, more of a seductress.

She has a seven-year-old kid Mickey, whose father is unknown. She teaches Mickey to lie, steal, and all the things that would make him street smart. Apt to the title of the movie – Born to be Bad

Mickey has an accident when a truck driven by Malcolm Trevor, played by Cary Grant, knocks him down, not severely injured. Knowing Malcolm is rich, Letty, played by Loretta Young, schemes to make money by issuing a lawsuit against Malcolm. She is proven guilty for lying and accused of being a bad mother who taught her son to lie in court and fake his injury.

Mickey is taken away from her. Malcolm and his wife Alice happily accept to raise Mickey as they cannot conceive their child. With time, Mickey is attached to both of them, and this fact makes Letty jealous. She wants Mickey back and also some fortune of Malcolm’s.

She pretends to be sick and seeks refuge at Malcolm’s house when her plan of running away with Mickey fails. She seduces Malcolm and records the conversation to blackmail him. Her dreams turn sour when Malcolm tells Alice about him being in love with Letty, and she accepted it.

Letty learns a lesson in seeing Alice’s selfless love and decides Alice and Malcolm to have Mickey so that he becomes a good man. She returns to her old job at the book shop, and the movie ends there.

However, this movie had other claims to fame. It ran into censorship problems from the start because of skimpy outfits worn by Loretta Young. It was rejected twice by the censor board (Hays office). After several cuts and retakes, this movie was eventually passed and given an approval certificate.

Released in 1934, Born to be Bad was directed by Lowell Sherman.

She Done Him Wrong (1933)

Mae West playing the role of Lady Lou is a nightclub owner in New York. One can imagine a lady of that stature to have many friends. She had more male friends than one can imagine.

The movie involves various scenes inside the night club and how few males try their luck to impress ‘Lady Lou.’

Although Captain Cummings is in no mood to embrace her, she does find his liking. One of Lady Lou’s lines – “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime?” is one of the best lines considered by many film critics and been voted in the Top 100 lines in many movie sites.

This movie was more focussed on Mae West, who proved why she was one of the best in the business of ‘comical sexuality.’

After this movie, The Nation legion of Decency was formed in 1933, stating the film and Mae West be one of the prime reasons.

The movie showcases the pride of the character ‘Lady Lou’ who, endowed with jewels, hip swishing, proclaims to the public, ‘I am the finest woman who walked the streets.’

Captain Cummings, played by Cary Grant, warns her about the consequences because of her attitude, and it is he who helps her at the end of the movie.

This movie is based on Mae West’s play titled ‘Diamond Lil’ in the late 1920s.

In his early years of acting, Cary Grant plays second fiddle to the more renowned Mae West. Paramount Productions hired him, and this movie saved Paramount Pictures from bankruptcy, and they owe it to Mae West and her popularity at that time.

Released in 1933, She Done Him Wrong was directed by Lowell Sherman and was the shortest movie in duration (66 minutes) to receive a Best Picture Oscar. Besides, it is the only movie (at the time of writing this post) to be nominated Best Picture category without nominations in other categories.