Sinners in the Sun: Alexander Hall’s Pre-Code Romantic Melodrama, Starring Carole Lombard, Chester Morris, Cary Grant

Alexander Hall directed Sinners in the Sun, a pre-Code romantic melodrama, starring Carole Lombard and Chester Morris.

Lombard plays Doris Blake, a top model for Louis in a chic New York dress shop. Her boyfriend Jimmie Martin (Chester Morris) is a mechanic. When he comes to pick her up, he talks about marriage, but she argues they both have no money. At a picnic, they quarrel again, and break up.

Doris meets the very rich and eccentric Claire Kinkaid (Adrienne Ames) at the shop, who doesn’t seem to care much for her own lavish lifestyle.  The only thing that Claire wants is a boyfriend.

Jimmie, pretending to be fixing a fancy car, realizes it belongs to Claire.  She offers him a job as chauffeur, which he readily accepts.

Jimmie drives Claire to a charity fashion show, where Doris is one of the models. Doris “borrows” a swimsuit and goes for a swim before the show. Eric Nelson (Walter Byron) is smitten and kisses her, and Doris slaps him twice. At the end of the party, she meets his wife, but Eric claims they are divorcing soon.

Doris’ father becomes fed up with her  involvement with a married man and throws her out. When Jimmie finds out, he tells Claire he is quitting.

Upon reading in the paper about Jimmie and Claire’s wedding, Doris gets upset, and she now accepts lavish gifts from Eric.

Meanwhile, Doris acquires an unwanted admirer, Ridgeway (Cary Grant), who has grown tired of Lil. As a result, Lil takes poison.

Ridgeway shows up with the news that Eric has patched things up with his wife. He gives her a check from Eric and makes it clear he expects to take Eric’s place. Doris tells him to get out. Jimmie tells Claire that seeing Doris has made him realize he is a kept man, and they part amicably.

Eric finds Doris working as a dressmaker and tells her that he is now divorced. He asks her to marry him, but she turns him down.

In the happy ending, Jimmie, now running a business, and Doris reconcile.

This is one of half a dozen films, the young Cary Grant made in 1932l in this one, he’s billed fifth.


Carole Lombard as Doris Blake
Chester Morris as Jimmie Martin
Adrienne Ames as Claire Kinkaid
Alison Skipworth as Mrs. Blake
Cary Grant as Ridgeway
Walter Byron as Eric Nelson
Rita La Roy as Lil
Reginald Barlow as Mr. Blake
Zita Moulton as Florence Nelson
Luke Cosgrave as Grandfather Blake
Ida Lewis as Grandmother Blake
Russ Clark as Fred Blake
Frances Moffett as Mrs. Fred Blake
Pierre de Ramey as Louis
Veda Buckland as Emma