Friday, January 13, 2012
Posted by Patti
Born to Be Bad, from 1950, is a fabulously entertaining melodrama starring Joan Fontaine, Robert Ryan, and Zachary Scott. Directed by Nicholas Ray, this film features Joan Leslie and Mel Ferrer in supporting roles. From the very beginning, the "bad" in this film is Joan Fontaine. In a dramatic turnabout from her vulnerable roles in Suspicion and Rebecca, in Born to Be Bad, she is a manipulating, riches-seeking, people-using schemer.
The niece of a publisher, orphaned Christabel Caine (Joan Fontaine) arrives in town and worms her way into the party (and the life) of Donna Foster (Joan Leslie). Donna is engaged to Curtis Carey (Zachary Scott), and Christabel very quickly seeks to undermine their relationship.
Though Christabel has caught the eye of novelist Nick Bradley (Robert Ryan), her eye is on the wealthy Mr. Carey. Oh, she'll carry on with Nick and even tease him into thinking she loves him in return...
...but her whole goal is to snag Curtis for herself. Lying, playing innocent, and hurting others matter little to Christabel. As long as she gets what she wants, she doesn't care who she steps on or pushes out of the way.
Born to Be Bad is a very interesting, entertaining film, and I must admit, I enjoyed seeing Joan Fontaine take on this kind of role. She was very good...not at all what I'm used to with her...but it was great to see just how capable an actress she was. I am a mega-huge Robert Ryan fan, and while I think he excelled at playing the unlikeable, villainous man, I appreciated seeing him in a more likeable role for a change. I don't believe the film is out on DVD, though it is on VHS, so if you have a working VHS player, you can catch it that way. Additionally, it is on TCM's January 30th schedule.
By the way, there is a 1934 film of the same name, which stars Loretta Young and Cary Grant. However, this 1950 film is not a remake of that. They are two completely different films.
Labels: Joan-1950s films ·