Sin Takes a Holiday (1930)
Sin Takes a Holiday (1930)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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as Sylvia Brenner
as Gaylord Stanton
as Reginald Durant
as Grace Lanier
as Miss Munson
as Miss Graham
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Sin Takes a Holiday is a very surprising pre-code. I was kind of caught off guard by how good it was. Constance Bennett plays a long suffering assistant, basically ignored by her boss, until he needs her to enter into a marriage of convenience with him to get his girlfriend off his back. Bennett is wonderful as a woman who finally gets to enjoy the finer things in life (including the attentions of Basil Rathbone), but who can't really, truly enjoy them, because she's in love with her husband, who still doesn't seem to notice she exists. This does have something of an original storyline, and unfolds in an entertaining and satisfying way.
This classical, upbeat movie for its time was never really off the ground. It delves into a little be devilment, love,jealousy, and yet, carried a well established plot. I found this old classic movie on a dusty shelf at a rental store and wanted to check it out. I was surprised at the characture portrayels and the plot. Surprisingly it was a decent movie....You ever get a chance, check it out, if you can still find it....
During the Depression, Cinderella and Pygmalion like stories were big. They were the chick flicks of the time. Poor young women finding a rich prince to turn them into a rich princess. But [i]Sin Takes a Holiday [/i]throws a love triangle in, making it a little more interesting than most Cinderella stories.
Constance Bennett plays the secretary to Kenneth MacKenna. She's desperately in love with him, but he hardly notices her. When his girlfriend tells him she's getting a divorce from her husband, and that MacKenna will be named the correspondant, he panics, and asks Bennett to marry him to help him out of the jam. Bennett refuses at first, her pride wounded, but eventually accepts. They're married, and she sails for Paris. On the boat, she meets MacKenna's friend Basil Rathbone. He falls in love with her, but she's still carrying a torch for MacKenna, so when Rathbone asks her to marry him, she returns to New York to see if she still has feelings for MacKenna.
It's clearly a pre-code film through and through. The type of marriage the lead characters have would be banned by the censors four years later, and the use of the word "affair" would give them heart attacks. It's not one of the raunchiest of the pre-code dramas, but it definitely benefits from the time it was made, and the abandon in the area of moral awareness makes the film much more interesting.
Constance Bennett was one of the prettiest, classiest ladies of the 1930s, so it's a little hard to swallow at the beginning that she's supposed to be poor and plain, but she does well in the role of lovesick secretary. She hits her stride, though, once her character becomes used to the new glamours of her life. She shares excellent chemistry with both her costars. Little more is required of Rathbone than smoldering suavness, and he pulls it off, but MacKenna has the more impressive role and performance. His scenes with his girlfriend are funny as he coyly evades her questions, and his love for Bennett seems gradual, which seems like it would be difficult considering he's not given many scenes to work with.
And it ended just the way I wanted it to. That is always a plus.
[b]Final Grade: [/b]A-
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