Illicit (1931)

Genre: Drama/Romance
Director: Archie Mayo
Writers: Edith Fitzgerald,Robert Riskin and Harvey Thew
Producers:  Darryl F. Zanuck
Cast:  Barbara Stanwyck as Anne Vincent,James Rennie, Ricardo Cortez, Natalie Moorhead, Joan Blondell
Release Date: 14 February 1931
Synopsis:Young free-thinkers turn conventionally jealous when they marry.
Distributor: Warner Bros.

Ray’s Review

After her big success in Ladies of Leisure, Barbara starred in her first film for Warner Brothers, Illicit.

The theme was very daring for 1931, Barbara’s character lives with her boy friend James Rennie, who wants to marry her.

She prefers their unconventional life style as she feels that marriage kills love, but rather than lose him she reluctantly accepts his proposal. As she predicted, after two years they are in a rut, and find relief by socializing with rowdy friends like Joan Blondell, who’s character rejoices in the name of “Duckie”. Their marriage is in further danger when the slick and smooth Ricardo Cortez sets his sights on our heroine. Needless to say, virtue triumphs in the end.

Barbara earned $35,000 for this film, and earned excellent reviews. Her leading man James Rennie was rather bland, and soon became a character actor, probably best remembered along with Lee Patrick, as the couple who befriend Bette Davis on the boat in Now Voyager.

Illicit caused quite a storm, so not surprisingly Warners remade it just two years later, entitled Ex Lady, and starring a promising young lady named Bette Davis.
Here is another scene from Illicit, Ricardo Cortez is the other man in her life, and far more charismatic than Mr Rennie.

This was the first of three films that he and Barbara worked together.

Note: Ray’s Review features in this website courtesy of Ray Johnson, as published in website’s forum legendary Barbara Stanwyck thread. Ray also manages the best forum on Barbara Stanwyck, Yahoo Groups’s Miss Barbara Stanwyck, click on the Forum menu item to be redirected.