Nan, a racketeer's daughter, is in love with The Kid, a shooting gallery showman. Despite Nan's prodding, The Kid has no ambitions about joining the rackets and making enough money to ... See full summary »
Nan, a racketeer's daughter, is in love with The Kid, a shooting gallery showman. Despite Nan's prodding, The Kid has no ambitions about joining the rackets and making enough money to support Nan in the lifestyle she's accustomed to. Her attitude changes after her father implicates her in a murder and she's sent to prison. During her incarceration, her father convinces The Kid to join the gang in order to help free Nan. When Nan is released, she wants nothing more to do with the mob and tries to get The Kid to quit, but she may be too late. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
I was lucky indeed to come up with a copy of this classic that is sadly not available. This was Rouben Mamoulian's first screen hit after the critical misfire of his first film Applause.
This was Gary Cooper's one and only film in the gangster genre though he did run into a few gangsters in Ball Of Fire. Of course his western persona is not one you would think would fit into the gangster film, but his character of a rodeo cowboy who was stranded in the big city and was now making a living at a shooting gallery, presumably in Coney Island rings true enough.
Coop's skill as a marksman is noticed by his girlfriend Sylvia Sydney who tries to interest him in going into the beer racket. But her own stepfather Guy Kibbee gets her involved in the murder of Stanley Fields and she takes a two year fall as an accomplice. In the meantime while Sylvia ponders the error of her ways in the joint, Cooper who was reluctant when she was out has now joined with Kibbee and is now a confidante of the big boss Paul Lukas.
Lukas is a suave and menacing gangster in one of his earliest sound roles. Guy Kibbee who usually played buffoons in later films at Warner Brothers and MGM will be quite the revelation as a really slimy character. Later on Kibbee was so typecast he could never have been given a part like this which he performs so well.
Mamoulian gets top flight performances from his whole cast. Cooper and Sydney are great in the leads. Mamoulian had great help from Dashiell Hammett who wrote his only original screenplay for City Streets. And special phrase must also go to Wynne Gibson who plays Lukas's moll and when she's scorned, she takes a terrible vengeance.
Paramount was not a studio known for gangster films, later on they did get their own gangster star in George Raft and Gary Cooper was not known for this genre. But in this case Paramount gave him one of his best early sound features. Do not miss this and demand that TCM broadcast it.
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