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In the 1950s, a poor Georgia cotton farmer and his sons search for the gold presumably buried on the farm by their grandfather but problems related to poverty, marital infidelity, unemployment and booze threaten to destroy their family.
Christabel fools everyone with her sweet exterior including her cousin Donna and Donna's wealthy fiancée Curtis. The only one who sees through her facade is Nick, a rugged writer who loves her anyway. Christabel also loves Nick, but she loves Curtis' money more. After convincing Curtis that Donna is only interested in him for his money, she tricks Curtis into marrying her. Of course, she still dallies with Nick on the side.Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
Most people remember Nicholas Ray for his most famous films, Rebel Without A Cause and Johnny Guitar being the ones most talked about . Born To Be Bad is ensconced in the category reserved for ignored treasures and guilty pleasures, since Director Ray's characteristic "signature" as a director was just as canny in this film as in any of his lesser discussed works, On Dangerous Ground (which also featured Robert Ryan) being another example. This reviewer sees the same sophistication in Born To Be Bad as in another 50s Ray piece, In A Lonely Place; Born To Be Bad is just as cynical in its own way, guised as a superficially lighter "high society" melodrama. Although there are no dark staircases, ominous shadows or oblique camera angles here, Born To Be Bad has subterfuge and alienation at its core in Joan Fontaine's central character, Christabel Caine. The misery depicted here is the type that afflicts the rich and the venal, where wealth, not poverty, is the variable behind their alienation, and their betrayals are carried out in swank apartments and elite mansions instead of typical "noir" territory. The stylistic dimensions of the film aside, Born To Be Bad also features Robert Ryan and Joan Fontaine together romantically. For Ryan devotees searching for the few romantic roles that came his way, they should certainly see the film: the chemistry between Ryan and Fontaine simmers in furtive trysts that were somewhat risque for cinema of that era (a comparable romance between Ryan and a female lead can also be found in the 1952 "noir" masterpiece, Clash By Night). Still available on laserdisc, Born To Be Bad features a crystal clear video transfer worthy of any film buff.
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