Chick Williams, a prohibition gangster, rejoins his mob soon after being released from prison. When a policeman is murdered during a robbery, he falls under suspicion. The gangster took ... See full summary »
Lem goes to Chicago to sell the wheat his family has grown on their farm in Minnesota. There he meets the waitress Kate. They fall in love and get married before going back to the farm. ... See full summary »
A crook's ex-wife marries the state's governor, and the crook sees an opportunity to make some money by threatening to expose his wife's past if the governor doesn't pay him off. The ... See full summary »
John Francis Dillon
Robert Emmett O'Connor
After accidentally killing the key witness to a crime, a mysterious drifter turns himself to the law, under a false name intending to protect his own family. But when the news of his ... See full summary »
William K. Howard
Johnny Mack Brown
In Naples, where prostitutes can pay their rent, Angela is sentenced to a year in the workhouse when she tries to steal(while streetwalking) to pay for medicine for her dying mother. She escapes and is hidden by a circus, where she's a natural talent and meets Gino, a painter. When she breaks her ankle in a fall, her career ends. What can she and Gino do? He wants to go to Naples, but the law may still be looking for her, and Gino doesn't know about her past. Starving artist and a beauty with a secret: is there room in this world for them? Written by
Janet Gaynor stars as the "street angel," a euphemism for prostitute, in this lushly romantic silent film. Of course Gaynor is really not a woman of the streets, but is convicted up this crime and stealing money from a lunch counter, which she does out of desperation to save her sick mother. She escapes the police however and hides out with a traveling circus. She becomes part of the troupe and meets a vagabond artist (Charles Farrell) and falls in love.
His love for her inspires him to create a great painting of her. This art gets him a muralist job with the city. On the verge of marriage, the police find her and take her to prison. Farrell doesn't know what's happened to her and his life is destroyed until a chance meeting on the foggy shores of Naples.
Janet Gaynor is superb as the street angel, quite able to show passion despite her youth and she looks great. Charles Farrell is OK as the artist. Henry Armetta is one of the circus performers, and Natalie Kingston is the mean prostitute.
Director Frank Borzage creates a great city set amidst fog and shadows. This setting is used to great effect in the several chase scenes. The set design and cinematography earned Oscar nominations, and this is one of three films (with Sunrise and Seventh Heaven) for which Gaynor won the very first Oscar as best lead actress (beating out Gloria Swanson and Louise Dresser).
Gaynor achieved stardom at the end of the silent era but easily made the transition to sound and had a solid career through the late 30s. She is best remembered as the star of the original A Star Is Born in 1937.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?