Tonight we continued our mini pre-Code festival of the last week with THEY CALL IT SIN, starring Loretta Young and George Brent. Although I'm still not sure what exactly was sinful (grin), I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It's predictable and at times downright hokey -- George Brent reviving a comatose patient at the film's climax is the kind of scene that invented medical cliches -- but also very entertaining.
Marion (Loretta Young) is a church organist in a small Kansas town who is romanced by Jimmy (David Manners), who is in town on a business trip. Business concluded, Jimmy returns to New York and his fiancee, thinking he'll never see Marion again. Surprise! Sudden changes in Marion's life send her to New York in search of Jimmy and a career in music.
Marion receives the shocking news of Jimmy's engagement and, moving on, she finds work thanks to a new friend (Una Merkel). Soon Marion is courted by a nice, upstanding doctor (George Brent) and a womanizing theatrical producer (Louis Calhern). What kind of man -- and life -- will Marion choose?
Young is beautiful and charming, Brent is stalwart and admirable, Merkel is fun, and Calhern is slimy. Manners' bug-eyed style of overacting, also seen in MAN WANTED, would be more appropriate for silent movies. It's not a particular surprise to me that his film career ended by the mid-'30s.
The movie was directed by Thornton Freeland. The run time is approximately 70 minutes (references vary).
THEY CALL IT SIN is available on video. It can also be seen on TCM.
Other Loretta Young pre-Code movies seen this week: MIDNIGHT MARY and EMPLOYEES' ENTRANCE.
2012 Update: THEY CALL IT SIN is now available on DVD in the Forbidden Hollywood Vol. 4 Collection from the Warner Archive.