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Sin Takes a Holiday

(1930 b 81')

En: 5 Ed: 5

A poor secretary marries the lawyer she works for so he can avoid marrying someone else; she goes abroad and is courted by his friend but returns.

In his apartment the lawyer Gaylord Stanton (Kenneth MacKenna) works with his secretary Sylvia Brenner (Constance Bennett) and discusses the problems of marriage with unhappily married Richards, Sheridan who has a distant wife, and freedom-loving Reginald Durant (Basil Rathbone). Four women arrive in evening gowns, and Sylvia eats dinner alone. Grace (Rita La Roy) tells Gaylord he is the correspondent in her husband's divorce suit. Gaylord stays while the others go to the theater. He works on divorce cases with Sylvia, and she refuses a drink. He asks how she can live on her $35 a week salary. She says she sees no husband in the future. Gaylord asks her to marry so that she will have things and can travel alone, not a real marriage. Sylvia says no. She goes to her apartment and tells roommates Annie and Bobbi about Gaylord's proposal; Bobbi calls it heaven. Gaylord offers Sylvia a one-year contract marriage with $5,000, and she can live where she wants. Sylvia agrees. They are wed, and Gaylord suggests that she go to Paris.

On the boat Sylvia meets Durant, and they dance. In New York Gaylord dances with Grace and tells her his wife sailed to Europe. Durant buys a bottle of champagne for $250 and shares it with Sylvia, asking about her honeymoon; she reminds him he values freedom. Durant offers to reserve rooms for her in Paris. He calls on her, and Sylvia tells him she is not in love with Gaylord. Sylvia buys clothes. Durant takes her to his villa and suggests she live there. They gamble, watch ice skating, and get a photo taken for an American magazine, which Gaylord and Grace eventually see. At the villa Sylvia plays piano for a singer who is amorous to her. She gets an invitation, and Durant says that people believe they are having an affair; he regrets it isn't true. Durant asks Sylvia to marry, saying she has changed. Sylvia says she must go to New York.

Durant and Sylvia arrive in New York, and Sylvia calls on Gaylord, saying she wants to get married. Gaylord tells her that Grace is moving into his apartment. He wants to get rid of her and asks Sylvia to help by moving in. At Gaylord's apartment Durant joins Gaylord and Sylvia. Grace and the two other couples arrive. Gaylord kisses Sylvia. Grace demands that Gaylord tell Sylvia about the divorce. Instead, Gaylord tells Sylvia he won't divorce her, and he keeps kissing her, causing Grace to break a mirror. Durant tells Gaylord he is in love with Sylvia. Sylvia tells Grace she is not divorcing Gaylord. Grace leaves with the other two couples. Gaylord and Sylvia talk for an hour alone, and then Durant leaves. Sylvia is glad and kisses Gaylord.

This story implies that money helps Sylvia come out of herself and learn how to attract men, ironically only after she is married.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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