Laughing Sinners (1931): Pre-Code Melodrama, Starring Crawford and Gable in their Second Teaming

Harry Beaumont directed this MGM Pre-Code feature, starring Joan Crawford and Clark Gable in the second of their eight films together.

Martin Flavin’s script was based on the 1930 play “Torch Song” by Kenyon Nicholson about an entertainer who experiences spiritual redemption.

Crawford plays Ivy Stevens, a cafe entertainer in love with an unstable salesman (Neil Hamilton) who deserts her.

Attempting to commit suicide, she is saved by Carl (Gable), a Salvation Army officer, who encourages her to join his organization.

When her old flame re-enters her life, Ivy, still attracted, begins another affair with him. Carl urges Ivy to resume her life with the Salvation Army.

Ivy finally realizes that her life will only spiral downward, thus dropping the shifty affair and resuming commitment to the Salvation Army.

Gable’s role was originally assigned to John Mack Brown, who shot some scenes, but the studio was dissatisfied and recast the part with Gable.

Brown’s career in features ended and he became a cowboy in B-Westerns, changing his name Johnny Mack Brown.

Crawford and Marjorie Rambeau would ream again as mother and daughter inĀ  Torch Song, in 1953.

Running time: 72 Minutes

release date: May 30, 1931