Cast & Crew
Julia Traynor is the private secretary of millionaire financial broker and playboy Jerry Stafford in New York. Julia does everything for Jerry, including purchasing jewelry for him to give to other women. One day, Jerry and Julia have a fancy catered lunch for two in Jerry's office, and he asks her to join him on a cruise. He admits he is against marriage, but at the same time, he wants to stop playing around. Julia humors him, but turns him down, saying she wants a husband of her own class who is young and just starting out as she is. They then both attend a football game with their respective dates. At a roadhouse afterward, Julia's boyfriend, Phillip Craig, talks of marriage, but they agree they must wait. After Jerry and his snobby date, Maybelle Worthington, enter, Jerry dances with Julia, again asking her to join him on a cruise. Phillip, fearful of losing Julia, marries her the following Monday morning. When she later comes in to work, Jerry proposes, and she reveals that she is already a married woman. Later, Jerry asks Phillip, who is struggling financially, to handle some business for him, and three months later, Julia and Phillip have made it into the upper class and Phillip has acquired the egotistic pride of the wealthy. After only a year of marriage, Phillip acquires a mistress, a blonde named Margaret Newton. On the night of his and Julia's one-year anniversary, Phillip nervously awaits the opening of the Tokyo stock market, to find out the results of a chancy stock investment he made in silk, which Jerry had warned him against. The dinner guests arrive, and Jerry, who hasn't seen Julia in a year, gives her an expensive bracelet and swears his love, telling her he is leaving on a long cruise at the end of the week. He then kisses her, and she reciprocates. At the end of the party, Phillip is drunk and confesses to Julia that he tried to corner the market on silk and lost, not only his fortune, but money he embezzled from clients as well. In addition, he lost some of Jerry's money, which he secretly used as collateral. Julia immediately calls Jerry and explains the situation, asking him for the money to keep Phillip out of prison. When she visits him to pick up the check, she offers herself to him, but he gallantly gives her the check without payment "in kind," and she collapses. Later, Phillip accuses Julia of being Jerry's lover, and she kicks him out for his insolence. While she packs her bag, he accuses her of leaving him to rot in jail while she runs away with Jerry. Phillip then arrives at Jerry's house, drunk and with a gun. Jerry coolly warns Phillip he will stop payment on his check if Phillip shoots and misses. Now hysterical, Phillip shoots Jerry, who falls unconscious. The police find Julia's fingerprints on both the desk and the check and arrest her on a train bound for Washington. Phillip insinuates to the police that Julia was Jerry's mistress and that Jerry had threatened to leave her. He then confesses to Julia how the shooting really occurred and admits that he put the blame on her. The police have overheard Phillip's confession, however, and arrest him. During Phillip's trial, Jerry awakens from his coma and drops the charges against him. The newspapers make a celebrity out of Phillip and he continues to be a braggart. Julia, who got a job in a law office to support herself and Phillip during the course of the trial, finally walks out on him when he is exonerated, assuring him that her lawyer will be handling the divorce. As she leaves the apartment, Jerry arrives and asks, "Wasn't it the south of France we decided you ought to see?"
Pat [j.] O'brien
The working titles of this film were Sex in Business, Strictly Business, and Another Man's Wife; Motion Picture Herald ads throughout January 1931 refer to the film by all three working titles as well as Honor Among Lovers. A pre-release news item in Exhibitors Herald-World on October 18, 1930 states that two casts, one English and one French, would be assembled for the film to be shot simulaneously. Claudette Colbert would star in both versions, and Dorothy Arzner would direct, with the aid of a French director for the French version. No further information has been found to verify that a French version was produced. The Variety review states that Colbert's "appearance invariably intrigues the masculine eye and here she looks almost as thin as Joan Crawford."
Appearing in the film in a minor role is Pat J. O'Brien, an actor who was cast primarily in Westerns from the 1920s through the early 1940s. Many modern sources have mistakenly reported that Irish-American actor, Pat O'Brien (1899-1983), appeared in Honor Among Lovers. Motion Picture Herald erroneously refers to Ginger Rogers' character as Doris Blake, and comments that the film "is sophisticated fare, but produced so inoffensively that parents can take their children to see it." Motion Picture Herald reports that scenes or aspects of Eugene Walter's play Paid in Full, which was the basis for a 1914 film of the same title (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.3335), are used in Honor Among Lovers.