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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.

Director:

John M. Stahl

Writers:

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

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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?

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

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

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Version of Back Street (1961) See more »

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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.


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