Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Born to Be Bad(1950).

Born to Be Bad(1950). Melodrama directed by Nicholas Ray. Cast: Joan Fontaine and Robert Ryan. It is based on the novel.. All Kneeling, by Anne Parrish.

On the same day that Donna Foster, is planning on hosting a party for artist, Gabriel, her boss John Caine's niece, Christabel, arrives to attend the local college.


When Christabel first meets Donna's fiance, wealthy Curtis Carey, she immediately begins making plans to take him away from Donna. Nick Bradley, a friend of Donna's becomes very attracted to Christabel. Even though.. Nick sees her has very opportunistic.

Later, when Christabel, is having her portrait painted by Gobby, Curtis calls, asking her to meet him at a jewelry store. After breaking her date with Nick, Christabel, is disappointed to find out that he only wants her to help him buy an engagement present for Donna. Christabel, tries to talk Curtis into giving Donna a cameo, but.. Curtis chooses a beautiful sapphire necklace instead. Donna, loves the necklace until Christabel says " that she is very surprised that she would want such a expensive gift". Donna, later tells Nick "that she is worried that Curtis may think she is marrying him only for his money".

Later, at Gobby's art opening, Curtis shares with Christabel his fears that Donna is a gold digger. Christabel, then suggests that Curtis have a pre-nuptial agreement with Donna written up. When Curtis mentions Christabel's idea to Donna, she is deeply hurt.

Later that night, after Curtis buys Christabel's portrait, Donna informs Chistable that she broke off her engagement with him. Seeing her opportunity, Christabel asks her uncle to please allow her to stay in San Francisco, just to attend the charity ball.

At the ball, Christabel sets her sights on Curtis, who is also attracted to her. When Christabel tells Nick, that she is marrying Curtis, he tells her that she will never be happy married to him. After Christabel and Curtis marry, Christabel throws herself into charitable committees and planning balls. Christabel, comes up with a plan to have Clara, who has been living with her since her marriage, shipped back to Santa Flora, because she is worried that she will have too much influence on Curtis.

Christabel's, social plans causes Curtis to question her love for him and worries that she is still in love with Nick and suggests that they go for a weekend get away. Christabel, slips away from the resort, leaving a note claiming that Clara, needs her back in Santa Flora. Christabel meets secretly with Nick, to rekindle their romance. Nick, soon realizes that Christabel only wants to have an affair with him and turns her down. When Christabel returns home, she finds out that Clara died earlier that afternoon. Curtis, now knowing that Christabel is only using him for his money, insists that she leave with only her furs.

She is not down for long.. Christabel, has a car accident and ends up in a hospital. She soon becomes involved in a love affair with her surgeon, whose wife sues her for alienation of affection. Later, after Curtis and Donna reunite, Christabel sees a lawyer about the lawsuit which turns into another scandal.

I thought it was a wonderful film, with perfect casting, stylish sets and costumes. One scene that really surprised me is when, Fontaine returns home after her love scene with Robert Ryan and takes a bath just before husband Zachary Scott returns home. Whew!! A must see film for all Fontaine and Robert Ryan fans.

Joan Leslie, got her first major role in the thriller High Sierra with Humphrey Bogart, playing a crippled girl.
She also starred in Sergeant York and The Wagons Roll at Night in that same year.

Later in 1942 she appeared as James Cagney's wife in Yankee Doodle Dandy, and at the age of 18 in 1943, she starred in The Sky's the Limit with Fred Astaire.

In 1946 exhibitors voted her the most promising "star of tomorrow". She starred in many more movies until 1950, when she married Dr. William Caldwell.

Her last movie role was in The Revolt of Mamie Stover in 1956, and she eventually retired from acting to take care of her identical twin daughters Patrice and Ellen.

She has appeared in several television commercials and also made guest appearances in the TV shows Murder, She Wrote and Charlie's Angels.

She also provided commentary as extras on the Yankee Doodle Dandy, Sergeant York, and High Sierra DVDs.

Joan was a regular volunteer at the Hollywood Canteen where she danced with the servicemen and granted hundreds of autographs.

In 1944, she starred with Robert Hutton in the film, Hollywood Canteen.


  1. You know I completely ADORE Robert Ryan, right? He is my #1 guy (along with Bill Holden), so I am always on the lookout for TCM to air one of his films (so I can record it to disc.) This is definitely one of my faves, and in some ways, it is definitely role reversal, as I'm used to Joan Fontaine being a good girl and Mr. Ryan being the "bad guy."

    Great review of a wonderful film!

  2. Patti, Thank you.. last week was the first time I had the opportunity to watch the classic film, Born to Be Bad(1950). I really enjoyed this very racy film.. I think it is one of my favorite, Robert Ryan performances.

  3. I taped this when it aired on TCM...glad to know it's worth watching!


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