They Call It Sin

Watch They Call It Sin

"In 1920...They called it "Flaming Youth" TODAY... "They Call it Sin""
  • NR
  • 1932
  • 1 hr 8 min
  • 6.3  (743)

Set in the early 1930s, They Call It Sin tells the story of Marion Cullen (Loretta Young), a small-town girl who dreams of becoming a famous actress on Broadway. Marion is determined to leave her modest life behind and make it big in the city, and she convinces her sister Lucy (Una Merkel) to come with her. Once they arrive in New York, Marion and Lucy struggle to make ends meet, but they refuse to give up on their dreams. They finally catch a break when they meet con artist Vance (Barton MacLane), who offers them a job in his phony spiritualist business. Marion and Lucy initially have misgivings about the scheme, but Vance insists that it's harmless and that they can make a lot of money.

However, Marion soon realizes that Vance's business is anything but harmless when he asks her to pose as a rich widow to lure unsuspecting victims into his trap. Marion reluctantly agrees, but things take a turn for the worse when she falls in love with one of Vance's targets, David (George Brent), a wealthy businessman who is grieving the loss of his wife.

As Marion becomes more enmeshed in Vance's fraudulent activities, she finds herself torn between her love for David and her loyalty to her sister and Vance. She begins to question whether her dream of becoming a Broadway star is worth sacrificing her morals and integrity.

Despite the film's suggestive title, They Call It Sin is not a salacious melodrama, but rather a thoughtful exploration of the moral dilemmas faced by those struggling to make a living during the Great Depression. Director Thornton Freeland employs a delicate touch, avoiding the lurid sensationalism that characterized many films of the era.

The film boasts strong performances from its cast, particularly Loretta Young, who was just 19 years old at the time of filming. Young brings a vulnerability and depth to the role of Marion, imbuing her character with a sense of youthful idealism and a fierce determination to succeed.

George Brent is also impressive as David, bringing a sensitive and nuanced portrayal to his grieving character. Una Merkel provides comic relief as Marion's spunky sister, and Barton MacLane is appropriately slimy as the manipulative Vance.

The film's themes of greed, deception, and redemption are timeless, and They Call It Sin remains a fascinating glimpse into the social and economic challenges faced by ordinary Americans during one of the most difficult periods in the country's history. While the film may not have achieved the same level of critical or commercial success as some of its contemporaries, its enduring relevance and strong performances make it a must-see for fans of classic Hollywood cinema.

In conclusion, They Call It Sin is a compelling drama that explores the moral quandaries faced by those struggling to make ends meet during the Great Depression. With its strong performances, nuanced characterizations, and thoughtful examination of the social and economic realities of the era, the film remains a powerful and poignant example of the kind of socially conscious cinema that flourished during the pre-Code era. So, it can be said that They Call It Sin is a film that deserves a watch.

They Call It Sin is a 1932 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 8 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3.

They Call It Sin
Where to Watch They Call It Sin
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 8 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.3  (743)