11 user 8 critic

Back Street (1932)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 30 December 1932 (USA)
A woman's love for and devotion to a married man results in her being relegated to the "back streets" of his life.


John M. Stahl


Fannie Hurst (novel), Gladys Lehman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A struggling widow and her daughter take in a black housekeeper and her fair-skinned daughter; the two women start a successful business, but face familial, identity, and racial issues along the way.

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Rochelle Hudson
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A one-night fling during World War I results in a young girl getting pregnant. Years later, she meets him again. Now a successful businessman, he doesn't even remember her, but tries to seduce her.

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: Margaret Sullavan, John Boles, Edna May Oliver
Back Street (1961)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In Lincoln, the ambitious aspirant-designer Rae Smith has an incident with a wolf department store businessman and is rescued by the Marine Paul Saxon. They immediately fall in love with ... See full summary »

Director: David Miller
Stars: Susan Hayward, John Gavin, Vera Miles
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A concert pianist unhappily married to a mentally ill woman falls in love with a waitress.

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Barbara O'Neil
Back Street (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Five years after meeting and falling in love with a banker, a willful shop girl decides to become his mistress upon learning he has since gotten married and had a son.

Director: Robert Stevenson
Stars: Charles Boyer, Margaret Sullavan, Richard Carlson
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A writer falls in love with a young socialite and they're soon married. But her obsessive love for him threatens to be the undoing of them both, and everyone else around them.

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The life of spoiled rich Robert Merrick is saved through the use of a hospital's only resuscitator, but because the medical device cannot be in two places at once, it results in the death ... See full summary »

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: Irene Dunne, Robert Taylor, Charles Butterworth
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A drunken newspaperman is rescued from his alcoholic haze by an heiress whose love sobers him up and encourages him to write a play, but he lapses back into dipsomania.

Director: Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Fredric March, Adrianne Allen
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A woman tricks a playboy into marrying her and then tries to make him legitimately fall in love with her.

Director: John Cromwell
Stars: Ann Harding, William Powell, Lucile Browne
Harriet Craig (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Domineering Harriet Craig holds more regard for her home and its possessions than she does for any person in her life. Among those she treats like household objects are her kind husband ... See full summary »

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Joan Crawford, Wendell Corey, Lucile Watson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Eighteen-year-old Esther has been deaf and blind since the accident which killed her mother. Wealthy Margaret Landi, a native of Esther's village in Ireland, is talked into helping to ... See full summary »

Director: David Miller
Stars: Joan Crawford, Heather Sears, Rossano Brazzi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young priest, Father Chisholm is sent to China to establish a Catholic parish among the non-Christian Chinese. While his boyhood friend, also a priest, flourishes in his calling as a ... See full summary »

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: Gregory Peck, Thomas Mitchell, Vincent Price


Cast overview:
Irene Dunne ... Ray Schmidt
John Boles ... Walter D. Saxel
George Meeker ... Kurt Shendler
Zasu Pitts ... Mrs. Dole (as Za Su Pitts)
June Clyde ... Freda Schmidt
William Bakewell ... Richard Saxel - Walter's Son
Arletta Duncan ... Beth Saxel - Walter's Daughter
Doris Lloyd ... Corinne Saxel - Walter's Wife
Paul Weigel Paul Weigel ... Adolph Schmidt - Ray's Father
Jane Darwell ... Mrs. Adolph Schmidt
Shirley Grey ... Francine
James Donlan James Donlan ... Profhero
Walter Catlett ... Bakeless
Robert McWade ... Uncle Felix


A woman's love for and devotion to a married man results in her being relegated to the "back streets" of his life.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Waiting--always waiting--in the shadows of the back streets...longing for the man she loves...asking nothing, receiving nothing--yet content to sacrifice all for him. WHY?


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

30 December 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Esquina do Pecado See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Footage featuring Paul Fix as June Clyde's boyfriend Hugo Hack was deleted. See more »


Ray Schmidt: There isn't one woman in a million who's found happiness in the back street of any man's life.
See more »


Version of Back Street (1961) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A pre-code film in which Ray and Walter fall in love...but he's married!
27 November 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Ha...I thought my summary would get your attention! While "Back Street" is clearly a pre-code film in its sensibilities, it's not THAT open-minded. You see, Ray is a lady (Irene Dunne)--an oddly named on at that! But, she does fall in love with a married man...and that definitely gives the film pre-code sensibilities.

The film begins in Cincinnati around the turn of the 20th century and much of it takes place around Over the Rhine--a neighborhood in the northern portion of the city and which was known for its German community and beer gardens (now...it's a far more unsavory area...but improving). Because I lived in Cincinnati for 14 years, I enjoyed hearing about the area--such as her lover, Walter (John Boles) who lived in nearby Hamilton as well as their meeting in Eden Park. In fact, for that reason, the film is a must-see for Cincinnatians. But should other folks watch "Back Street"? Read on.

When the film begins, Ray is a popular lady with many suitors. However, she inexplicably falls for Walter and falls hard. However, the night they are supposed to meet, they somehow miss each other and only meet up again five years later--after he's married and has a family. Despite this, the pair begin seeing each other and Ray throws caution and morality to the wind. He soon rents her an apartment and she's a kept woman...Walter's mistress while he pretends to be a good husband.

For me, "Back Street" is a very hard sell...even with its Cincinnati connection. After all, it's hardly a romance since the plot is all about adultery. The film does seem to paint it in romantic terms and there is a speech by Walter later in the film where he justifies having this mistress for decades. Romantic...certainly not. Plus, so often Ray just comes of as pathetic...especially when she lectures another kept woman about the sanctity of marriage and then, literally, Walter walks in the door and she drops everything to run to him! As for Walter, he's just a selfish jerk despite his lovely speech glorfying the joys of adultery! Well acted and interesting...but also a sad film that is easy to dislike. Perhaps too 'modern' in its sensibilities for an old fashioned guy like me. Slickly made but not a film I enjoyed.

3 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 11 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed