AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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They Call It Sin
Director: Thornton Freeland (Dir)
Release Date:   5 Nov 1932
Duration (in mins):   68 or 74-75
Duration (in reels):   7
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Cast:   Loretta Young (Marion Cullen)  
    George Brent (Dr. [Tony] Travers)  
    Una Merkel (Dixie Dare)  
    David Manners (Jimmy Decker)  
    Helen Vinson (Enid Hollister)  
    Louis Calhern (Ford Humphries)  
    Joe Cawthorne (Mr. Hollister)  
    Nella Walker (Mrs. Hollister)  
    Elizabeth Patterson (Mrs. Cullen)  
    Erville Alderson (Mr. [Timothy] Cullen)  
    Mike Marito (Moto)  
    Irving Bacon (Hotel clerk in Kansas)  
    Bert Roach (Mr. Goodrich, drunk at party)  
    Roscoe Karns (Brad, choreographer)  

Summary: New York businessman Jimmy Decker falls in love with Kansas beauty Marion Cullen even though he is engaged to Enid Hollister, his boss's daughter. Marion, who feels out of place in her staid hometown, is a talented composer. When her parents reveal that she is really their adopted daughter and her unwed mother was a showgirl, she leaves for New York. Once there, she discovers Jimmy's engagement, and realizing that he can do nothing for her, she and dancer Dixie Dare interview with notorious theatrical agent Ford Humphries. Impressed by her talent and her beauty, Humphries offers Marion a job as a rehearsal pianist. During a break, Marion plays one of her own songs for Humphries, who suggests she write a song for one of his shows and offers her the use of his apartment. Marion gently turns down Humphries' pass, but they continue to see each other. One evening, they meet Jimmy's friend, Dr. Tony Travers, in a club. Tony and Marion start to date, and when Jimmy returns from his honeymoon and discovers this, he becomes upset. He attends one of Humphries' parties to tell Marion he still loves her. Humphries sees them kissing and fires Marion. He then uses her songs without credit, and when Jimmy learns of his deceit, he visits Humphries to defend her. Drunk, Humphries falls off his balcony and his injuries put him in a coma. To save Jimmy, Marion insists that she pushed Humphries. Convinced she is lying, Tony uses a risky procedure to revive Humphries, who clears Marion and Jimmy before he dies. Marion realizes she is in love with Tony and agrees to marry him. 

Production Company: First National Pictures, Inc. (Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.)
Distribution Company: First National Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Thornton Freeland (Dir)
Writer: Lillie Hayward (Scr)
  Howard J. Green (Scr)
Photography: James Van Trees (Photog)
Art Direction: Jack Okey (Art dir)
Film Editor: James Gibbon (Ed)
Costumes: Orry-Kelly (Gowns)
Music: Leo F. Forbstein (Vitaphone Orch cond)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel They Call It Sin by Alberta Stedman Eagan (New York, 1933).
Authors: Alberta Stedman Eagan

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
First National Pictures, Inc. 19/10/1932 dd/mm/yyyy LP3351

Physical Properties: Sd:

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Composers
  Romantic rivalry
  Theatrical agents
  Traveling salesmen
Subjects (Minor): Accidental death
  City-country contrast
  Dismissal (Employment)
  Falls from heights
  New York City
  Operations, Surgical


Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Film Daily   22 Oct 32   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Aug 32   p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald   3 Sep 32   pp. 42-43.
New York Times   21 Oct 32   p. 25.
Variety   25 Oct 32   p. 15.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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