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Quality Street (1927)

A fresh young beauty becomes an old maid waiting for her suitor to return from the Napoleonic wars. When he returns, clearly disappointed, she disguises herself as her own niece in order to test his loyalty.



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Cast overview:
Margaret Seddon ...


A young British doctor leaves his fiancé to go off and fight in the Napoleonic wars. Upon his return ten years later, he finds the the beautiful young girl he knew is now a tired, aging schoolteacher and he is no longer interested in her. She is still in love with him, however, and rather than give him up, she "reinvents" herself as her younger, perkier "niece" Livvy and tries to regain his interest. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Comedy | Drama | Romance




Release Date:

1 November 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Beleza Moral  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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[first lines]
Patty: Judging by the excitement of the Willoughby sisters, Dr. V. B. is on his way.
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Version of Quality Street (1937) See more »

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User Reviews

Mills & Boon companions
30 September 2005 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

James M Barrie is now remembered solely for 'Peter Pan', but his play 'Quality Street' was once extremely popular ... so much so that in Britain a brand of filled chocolates were named Quality Street. Barrie's play (despite this film version and a remake) is now out of fashion, but the Quality Street choccies are more popular than ever ... and are exactly the sort of sweets that would be devoured by some lovelorn woman whilst reading a Mills & Boon romance paperback containing the sort of historical claptrap seen in this film.

I screened a videotape of 'Quality Street' that was transferred from a nitrate print that had already begun to deteriorate. In my several decades of movie-watching, I've viewed hundreds of reels of nitrate films that have begun to decompose, and I've got pretty good at ignoring the ripples and slurries while concentrating on the surviving portions of the image. Yet, because I'm accustomed to absolute image clarity when watching videos or DVDs, I found the very minor nitrate deterioration in this video transfer to be deeply distracting. When I see the ripples of deteriorating nitrate, I expect to smell the odour of vinegar ... but on this video, all I could smell was the head-cleaner solution.

Much has been said elsewhere about the relationship between Marion Davies and her backer WR Hearst. Davies proved that her real talent was for frothy comedies of manners in modern settings, but Hearst preferred to cast her in elaborate costume dramas that would present her as a 'serious' actress. 'Quality Street' was clearly chosen for her by Hearst. This story takes place in England during the Napoleonic wars: there are plenty of scoop bonnets, mob caps, plumed shakos and Empire waistlines on offer here. We're solidly in Jane Austen territory, but with a story and characters below Jane Austen's standards.

SPOILERS COMING. The basic storyline here is very similar to 'Madam Satan' and 'Two-Faced Woman': when a man loses interest in a woman, she creates a younger and more vivacious identity, then proceeds to regain his interest as this 'other' woman. The leading man here is Conrad Nagel, who zombies his way through this role even more dully than usual for him. When Dr Brown (Nagel) appears to be no longer enamoured of Phoebe Throssel (Davies), she becomes her own niece Livvy. The doctor seems to prefer Livvy to Phoebe. The end of this story is deeply unconvincing, when Brown announces that he prefers Phoebe after all. A maidservant (Kate Price) has already revealed the imposture to Brown ... so we never know whether his preference for Phoebe is genuine.

The costumes and sets are impressive throughout, except for an anachronistic house number outside Phoebe's residence at 56 Quality Street. (British residences didn't have house numbers until Queen Victoria's reign.) Even more impressive here is the virtuoso camera work by Hendrik Sartov, who filmed this movie's dolly shots with a hand-held camera while wearing roller skates. But we get the usual flaw of movies set in the past: everything is too clean, and everyone's teeth are too good. This is especially conspicuous during one sequence featuring Flora Finch as the local gossip. Sartov's camera skates in for a tight close-up of Finch's mouth, and he holds this while we notice how impeccable Finch's teeth are. I doubt that anyone in Georgian England had such fine choppers.

The intertitles feature lots of 'La, sir!' dialogue that should please readers of Regency romances. This really isn't my sort of story; I kept expecting Dame Barbara Cartland to show up. I'll rate 'Quality Street' 6 out of 10.

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