EXTERNAL LINK, MOVIES, Sin Takes a Holiday (1931)
Comments 19

Rathbone on TCM

Basil Rathbone is currently featured on TCM, and here are some very Baz-centric user reviews of the epic SIN TAKES A HOLIDAY

And Frank Miller’s review of the same includes this rather nice para on the Baz that helps reassert his heretofore forgotten stint as matinee idol:

Rathbone’s presence has also helped generate the film’s cult status. Before his rise to become one of the screen’s best villains (in films such as 1935’s David Copperfield and Anna Karenina), Rathbone was a matinee idol with a horde of devoted female fans. His first stint in talking films, starting as Norma Shearer’s suave love interest in MGM’s 1929 version of The Last of Mrs. Cheyney, were designed to build on that image. The eight films he made in just over a year present only a hint of what was to come thanks to his casting as society sleuth Philo Vance in The Bishop Murder Case (1930), a chance to do detective work long before he became the movies’ most famous Sherlock Holmes. Sin Takes a Holiday marked the end of his early Hollywood period. He would return to Broadway for two more seasons before making a full-scale move back into the movies.

It’s perhaps also noteworthy that this movie was a commercial success, and that Basil garnered the best of the lukewarm reviews – both of which seem to further undermine the suggestion made in some quarters that he quit Hollywood in 1932 because of bad public reception and poor reviews. Where did this idea originate? And upon what is it actually based?


  1. GRETCHEN says

    I recently watched this film, and MAY have seen it several YEARS ago, but I’m not sure. Basil should have played the BOSS, and the other guy, her suitor. Then, she would’ve ended-up with the RIGHT guy, at the end!! πŸ™‚

    He notices her at the very start of the film, when she’s poor and less attractive, asking what she thought of the conversation the men were having about their love-affairs. This looked to me as though in a way, he actually VALUES her opinion, and HER as a person. Then, when she’s all dolled-up and fancy, he’s the FIRST to pay attention to her again, at that club. When they are together, there is NO sex, and he respects her that way…she probably just isn’t that INTO him, though, and that’s why nothing happens (she’s thinking about her lousy BOSS-husband, the whole time). They truly seem to get-on quite well together, and Basil doesn’t act much like the “playboy” he’s supposed to be…especially when he falls in LOVE with her! Perhaps he loves her because she’s not the generic “floosy” he normally dates, and he’s impressed with her intelligence and personality— not just her LOOKS. At the end, I kept thinking: “NO!! Don’t stay with your husband! Go with Baz! Go with BAZ!!!” But, alas, she doesn’t, and he re-thinks his interest in her as a “passing” thing, going-off to find his next conquest…RATS!!

    What I don’t get, is why her “husband” is SOOO repulsed by her “unattractiveness” when they get married, he won’t even give her a proper kiss…then by the end, he’s so in LOVE with her, he can’t WAIT to kiss her! What’s up with THAT?? I guess staring at her looking HOT in that news-photo for months got him thinking about what he’d missed, or something…now, THAT’S what I call TRUE LOVE! Yet, it was Basil who actually courted and treated her so WELL— GO-FIGURE!

    In the scene where he takes her to the figure-skating show, he is ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE in his little pom-pom ski-hat and snow-clothes!! Awww… πŸ™‚


  2. FenderBender says

    i think the idea Rathbone didn’t go over as a leading man is in Druxman’s book, but I agree it doesn’t seem borne out by the facts.


    • Cinegeek says

      Yeah, it’s like almost every movie he made was a hit, and even when it wasn’t he got good reviews. So, why did he up sticks like that in 1932?


  3. I watched SIN TAKES A HOLIDAY and I’m now such a massive fan of Basil Rathbone, I googled him and went on tumblr and found this amazing site! Hello other fans of this magical man! I’m so happy today because I found this place. I’m reading all the back posts. And it’s Saturday, and I have choc fudge brownie ice cream. I’m in heaven.


  4. Thomas Dekker says

    i sense the zeitgeist is ripe for a Rathbone Reassessment and someone should seize the moment

    – carpe momentum!


  5. granny Gingrich says

    I think Basil is fabulous in this film! So smooth and sexy and yet conscious-stricken and lovely


  6. roesbette says

    I watched it on Tuesday night right before the election results. Spoiler alert: Connie chose the wrong man. Basil was really fabulous — charming, urbane, devoted. Why she was so infatuated with that silly ass boss is a total mystery. At least Basil got a great double entendre last line — but I won’t give that away.


      • Ellen Foley says

        Boring Man Boss is like the ex-boyfriend in LOVE FROM A STRANGER with Baz just the opposite of SIN-starts out charming,but THEN WATCH OUT and hold tight!


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