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Film / Illicit

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Stanwyck is Pretty in Mink.
Illicit (1931) is a pre-Code drama starring Barbara Stanwyck, James Rennie, and Ricardo Cortez, and directed by Archie Mayo.

The story follows lovers Ann (Stanwyck) and Dick Ives (Rennie) who don't care that they're having sex out of wedlock. Ann doesn't care to be wed because she knows that love dies when one marries. Dick, on the other hand, thinks that maybe marriage isn't so bad. Pressured by his father and rumours that float around, they get hitched but, lo and behold, troubles soon follow the marriage.

This was Stanwyck's first film for Warner Bros.. Joan Blondell has a small part as "Duckie", one of Ann's society friends.



  • The Alcoholic: Played for Laughs with Georgie (Clive Butterworth). He's always trying to procure liquor or stealing some.
    Ann: Georgie, haven't you stopped drinking yet?
    Georgie: I've practically stopped; I've tapered down to two quarts a day.
  • Awful Wedded Life: It's what Ann fears if she gets married. And it is what happens.
  • The Casanova: Price is one, but he really is disappointed when he hears that Ann is getting married.
  • Cast Full of Rich People: In this film made in the depths of the Great Depression, all the characters are the members of the New York jet set, who have winter and summer homes and get their weddings written up in the society pages.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Duckie which is of no surprise since she's played by Joan Blondell.
  • Double Standard: Of the cheating heart edition where it’s okay for a man to cheat when he’s bored of his wife but not for the woman.
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  • Going Commando: Duckie apparently does this. She says that wearing underwear is old-fashioned.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: This nice exchange using the nickname for Richard…
    You know I’ve gone after Dick once or twice!
    I’ve always been in love with Dick!
    I happen to love Dick!
    I came here for Dick’s sake!
  • Hypocrite: Dick goes out with Margie at least twice and is also caught kissing her. But when he finds Price Baines in Ann's apartment, he flips out, and their trial separation becomes a real one.
  • Old Flames: Ann and Dick each have one in the persons of Price Baines and Margie True. Each comes sniffing around after Ann and Dick start living separately again.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: When never learn Duckie’s real name.
  • Product Placement: A line in the opening credits says "Brunswick radios used exclusively." Sure enough, later in the movie a character is shown tuning a radio with the Brunswick logo prominently displayed.
  • Serious Business: Being seen together on a romantic weekend in Connecticut is apparently a huge, huge deal, causing Dick, when he hears that the word is out, to demand that either they get married or break up. Ann picks the first option.
  • Unreveal Angle: We don't get to see what was revealed when Georgie opened the door, but by everyone's reaction, apparently Georgie and Duckie and Ann all saw Dick and Margie kissing.