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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bad Sister (1931)

A self centered small town girl (Sidney Fox) is tired of the dull routine of her daily existence. When a smart talking con artist (Humphrey Bogart) comes to town and romances her, she's ready to dump her boyfriend (Conrad Nagel) and elope. Her selfishness combined with her naivete and inability to see through him will bring unhappiness to her family. Based on the novel THE FLIRT by Booth Tarkington (MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS) and directed without any style by Hobart Henley, this pre-code melodrama is mercifully brief (running slightly over an hour). It's middling, not bad but not particularly good either, a generic piece of early sound movie making. Today, this Universal production is most notable for two supporting players who would both go on to big careers at Warners: Bogart in only his 4th film and Bette Davis in her film debut. Neither displaying the talent or charisma here that would make them Hollywood legends. As for the film itself, it would play better without the ridiculous happy ending tacked on when everything that came before it indicated a darker inevitable end. With Zasu Pitts, Charles Winninger, Emma Dunn and Slim Summerville.

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