Born to Be Bad (1934) - Rotten Tomatoes

Born to Be Bad1934

Born to Be Bad (1934)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Born to Be Bad Photos

Movie Info

Sugary sweet Loretta Young does an uncharacteristic about-face in 20th Century Productions' Born to be Bad. Young is cast as Letty Strong, an unwed teenaged mother who tricks happily married dairy farmer Malcolm Traver (Cary Grant) into adopting her baby. She later uses all her feminine wiles to steal Traver away from his mousy little wife Alyce (Marion Burns). Bad though Letty is, however, she's still portrayed by Loretta Young, so a last-minute redemption is inevitable. Juvenile radio actor Jackie Kelk plays Letty's obnoxious child, who (somewhat amusingly) turns out to be a bastard in more ways than one. No relation to the 1950 Joan Fontaine vehicle of the same name, Born to be Bad was co-scripted by actor Ralph Graves.


Loretta Young
as Letty Strong
Cary Grant
as Malcolm Trevor
Jackie Kelk
as Mickey Strong
Russell Hopton
as Steve Karns
Andrew Tombes
as Max Lieber
Howard Lang
as Dr. Dropsy
Marion Burns
as Alice Trevor
Matt Briggs
as Truant Officer
Geneva Mitchell
as Miss Crawford
Eddie Kane
as Headwaiter
George Irving
as Admirers at Club
Mary Forbes
as Admirers at Club
Edward Keane
as Admirers at Club
Etienne Girardot
as J.K. Brown
Guy Usher
as Judge McAffee
Wade Boteler
as Detective
View All

Critic Reviews for Born to Be Bad

All Critics (1)

Even by standards of Depression melodramas, this banal woman's picture, about a single mom forced to give up her son to guardian parents, further suffers from a weak perfromance by Cary Grant and unconvincing one from Loretta Young.

February 11, 2006 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Born to Be Bad


An early attempt on Grant's part, most of the film is less of an actual film and more of a cautionary tale for the nymphets and flappers still left over from the roaring twenties. At least the film is carried on the backs of two of the best stars of the day. Old Hollywood legends Cary Grant and Loretta Young are the main reason to watch this venture, not for any superb performances, because neither shines in this dour picture. Grant is still wet behind the ears, having followed Mae West around like a lovesick puppy in his last two films, and was completely wrong for the part of the golden boy philanthropist with a bendable will. Loretta, as the loving mother with a bad girl streak, is perfectly in her element but falls flat with extremely lax dialogue and ridiculous supporting characters. The financial aspect of the film, which is part of the plot, makes no sense, and the fact that she's a mother makes even less sense. The film feels cut up and censored, and most of the more mature themes are so watered down and ill used that it's little more than a morality tale. It's short, and mind numbingly self-indulgent, soapy and melodramatic, and there's little to this film except some early examples of Grant and Young's acting. Easy to miss, I assure you.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Bad acting (yes, even The Mr. Cary Grant - it was before he found his style). Bad filming. Cliched and ill-paced story.

Jennifer D
Jennifer D

Super Reviewer


How can you judge a woman as fit to be a mother or not? This movie doesn't discuss this question even though it really should. Personally I didn't think Young was a horrible mother in this movie, she treated her son well. I didn't like the ending either.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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