Virtue (film).jpg
Directed byEdward Buzzell
Screenplay byRobert Riskin
Story byEthel Hill
StarringCarole Lombard
Pat O'Brien
CinematographyJoseph Walker
Edited byMaurice Wright
Columbia Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • October 25, 1932 (1932-10-25)
Running time
69 minutes
CountryUnited States

Virtue is a 1932 American Pre-Code romance film directed by Edward Buzzell and starring Carole Lombard and Pat O'Brien.


New York City streetwalker Mae (Carole Lombard) is told by police to leave New York. However, she gets off the train at a suburban station, taking the cab of Jimmy Doyle (Pat O'Brien). He says he knows women well and does not think much of them. She slips away without paying the fare, as she is penniless. Fellow prostitute Lil (Mayo Methot) advises her to find honest work.

Receiving a loan, Mae goes to pay Jimmy the fare. They argue, but are mutually attracted and he finds her a job. By coincidence, Gert (Shirley Grey), another ex prostitute, also works there. Jimmy and Mae marry, but Mae has not told him about her past. When a policeman appears to arrest Mae for breaking bail conditions, Jimmy leaves to think things over. He then says he will try to make the marriage work, on condition that Mae has given up prostitution and avoids her old friends.

Jimmy has saved money to become a partner in a gas station. When Gert asks for money for a doctor, Mae takes it from Jimmy's savings. She learns Gert has lied and, when Jimmy tells her he will need the money, Mae finds Gert who promises to get her it. However, Gert has given the money to her boyfriend Toots (Jack La Rue), who is also Lil's pimp. When Gert tries to steal it back from him, Toots catches her and accidentally kills her. He hides the body, then watches from hiding as Mae shows up; she finds the money and leaves.

The police arrest Mae because she left her bag in Gert's apartment. However, a mistrustful Jimmy had been following Mae and knows a man was with Gert. He learns that it was Toots, but Lil gives Toots an alibi. Lil convinces Toots to go to the DA’s office and lodge a complaint against Jimmy, but when they’re there she rats Toots out for the murder of Gert. Toots is taken into custody and Mae is exonerated.