Illicit (film)

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Illicit 1931 Poster.jpg
Lobby card
Directed by Archie Mayo
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck
Written by
Screenplay by Harvey F. Thew
Music by
Cinematography Robert Kurrle
Edited by William Holmes
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Release date
  • February 14, 1931 (1931-02-14) (USA)
Running time
79 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Illicit is a 1931 American pre-Code drama film directed by Archie Mayo and starring Barbara Stanwyck, James Rennie, Ricardo Cortez, and Natalie Moorhead. Based on a play by Edith Fitzgerald and Robert Riskin, the film is about a young couple living together out of wedlock because the woman does not believe in marriage. When they finally get married, both become unfaithful to each other. Illicit was produced and distributed by Warner Bros.[1]


James Rennie and Natalie Moorhead in a scene from the film.

Anne Vincent is a woman who has modern ideas about love. She believes that marriage kills love and leads to unhappiness and, inevitably, divorce. Although her boyfriend, Dick Ives II, and his father, Dick Sr., try to persuade Anne to get married, she resists their arguments. Anne and Dick live together for a while without getting married but eventually Anne caves in to avoid scandal and agrees to marry Dick. Anne receives a telegram from her ex-boyfriend, Price Baines, saying that he wants to visit her. Dick tries to prevent Anne from seeing him, but she does so anyway. Price tries to persuade Anne not to get married, tells her that he is still in love with her and warns her that she will be unhappy if she marries, but she remains unconvinced. Anne marries Dick and eventually they settle down and start to behave like a typical married couple. They tire of each other, avoid each other and fight over silly things. Dick becomes interested in Margie True, who tells him that she is in love with him. Soon, he begins a torrid affair with her. He spends less and less time with Anne. Eventually Anne tells Dick that they need to separate for a time. Dick tires of Margie while Anne does the same with Price, who attempts to rekindle their old relationship. The separation makes Dick and Anne realize how much they love each other. They resume their relationship, initially as a courtship. Eventually, they cohabitate as husband and wife.




  • "When Love Comes in the Moonlight" Played during the credits (from the Warner Bros. musical Oh Sailor Behave).
  • "Maybe It's Love" Sung by James Rennie and Barbara Stanwyck (from the Warner Bros. musical Maybe It's Love).
  • "Looking for the Lovelight in the Dark" Played on the radio (from the Warner Bros. musical Top Speed).
  • "Pretty Little You" Played on the radio (from the Warner Bros. film Son of the Gods).
  • "In the Land of Let's Pretend" Used in scoring (from the Warner Bros. musical On with the Show).
  • "Get Happy" Played in nightclub


The film survives intact and has been shown on television and cable.


  1. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Illicit (1931)". AllMovie. Retrieved January 26, 2014. 

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