Bad Girl (1931)


Starring: Sally Eilers, James Dunn, Minna Gombell

Director: Frank Borzage


Summary: A man and a woman, skeptical about romance, nonetheless fall in love and are wed, but their lack of confidence in the opposite sex threaten to ruin their marriage

Other nominations: Director*, Adapted Screenplay*


-Strong characters (mostly) and themes with decent performances. The film does a nice job of treating both genders and both our leads as equals who both want a happy marriage but often have trust issues due to their preconceptions that they came in with. It has more complexity when talking about marriage than most films of this era-that love that lacks complete trust isn’t enough to sustain a lasting relationship.

-The movie does a good job of making you feel like these are ordinary, real people, who have real-person problems. It can definitely get moody at times


-The plot for the 2nd half of the movie is substantially built on the annoying and lazy plot device of “if these two characters just told each other what they were doing/thinking, we wouldn’t have a movie.” It gets real old after a while. That, and the movie is very standard rom-com until they get married.

-Most of the film does a nice job of treating the perspectives of both sexes equally, but by the end one character is being treated really unfairly by the other and it makes that character unlikable.

-Lots of period slang is distracting from the otherwise pretty good dialogue

-There is no reason why this was called Bad Girl other than to bring in moviegoers-the poster is more misleading than the Drive trailer.


This film was a nice palate cleanser after three god-awful films in a row. Borzage does well with romance and relationships (he also directed and won Best Director for 7th Heaven from the 1st Academy Awards) and this was better than I was expecting. It would have rated higher if the script was a little more creative, or if the actors were a little better.

Rating: C


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