Friday, May 31, 2013

Born to Be Bad (1950)


“You love only one person in the world Christabel, and it's the love of a lifetime.”

                        Born to Be Bad is a film I have been wanting to see for some time once I found out Joan Fontaine was in it. How could I not see a film with this title starring Joan Fontaine who usually played good girl characters? I had heard it was not a very good film but in quest to see as many films of Fontaine’s as I can (and as I usually do with actors/actresses I like) I needed to see it. I never had high expectations for Born to Be Bad and I am glad I did not.
            Christabel Cain (Fontaine) is moving into a place of her own. Her rich uncle has gotten her a job and is sending her to business school. Her aunt had two people she knows Donna and Gobby (Mel Ferrer) help to set up the apartment before she arrived. Christabel shows up a day earlier than everyone had expected. Donna had planned to go to the theater with her fiancé Curtis Carrey. They were not going to go because they could not get Christabel a ticket but she makes them both go she will be fine.
            Christabel goes to make a phone call but a man named Nick is also trying to use the phone in the kitchen. She goes into the kitchen. Nick is a bit of brute and he is rude. He tells Christabel Donna discovered him he is an author looking to publish his book on China. Later on the two become good friends. She tells Nick that her parents died when she was little and instead of going to live with her rich uncle she chose to live with her poor aunt.
            Gobby has been using Christabel as a model for one his paintings. He gets it out of her that she has dropped out of business school. Curtis called in the middle of the painting session he wants to see Christabel later at night. Nick comes by the studio. He wants to take her out but she lies that Gobby wants her to stay late. Eventually Nick wins her for the night.
            Curtis had wanted Christabel to come out with him to help pick out a gift for Donna. Donna is constantly bringing up Curtis’s money and it drives him crazy. Christabel does not bring up his money. Donna begins to believe that her one time friend is coming in between her and her fiancé. She finally has enough and goes to London for some time. Donna is not happy that Curtis tested her about giving up her rights to his money. She knows Christabel is looking after herself and has no issues with what she is doing to her and Curtis. After Donna leaves Christabel goes into her room and smiles a malicious smile that her plan has worked Donna is now out of the picture.
            Christabel’s uncle is not happy with what she did in breaking up Donna and Curtis. She begs him not to send her home to her aunt there is a ball that night that she wants to go to. She really just wants to see Curtis alone. After the ball Christabel finds Nick at her house when he was supposed to be in Boston. He did not want to leave her. She tells her other former friend that she is marrying Curtis.
            Curtis really loves Christabel but she does not love him. She makes Curtis’s life miserable and becomes manipulative to not only him but everyone around her.
            Eventually Christabel has screwed over both Curtis and Nick and in the end she left all by herself with no one to give a care for her.
            The acting was not bad at all. Joan Fontaine was excellent as this quiet manipulative woman who knew exactly how to get what she wanted. She looked gorgeous in every outfit she had on. Mel Ferrer was perfect as a painter he had the look for it.

            Born to Be Bad was boring. Sure the character of Christabel was bad and had cruel intentions but she was not that bad that the title “born to be bad” should have been given to her. I say give Born to Be Bad from 1950 (not the excellent 1934 Pre-Code starring Loretta Young and Cary Grant) at least one viewing just to the acting.