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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've only seen a couple of Sylvia Sidney's early films, but they all seem to feature at least one closeup of her face that reveals what's really going on in the picture. In Hitchcock's "Sabotage," there's a fascinating shot of her working at a theater box office when a guy she likes suddenly shows up unannounced. Hitchcock went in tight on her face as it slowly changes from a blank expression to a glow of sheer joy. I've never seen anything like it in any other film. And here, in "City Streets," the director dollies in and lingers on her face for a full minute while Hollywood cinema's first "voiceover" tells us what's going on in her thoughts. But really, the words are superfluous, because her brown, luminous eyes tell us everything. Sidney was perhaps too exotic and unconventional to compete for major stardom with the Clara Bow flappers and Jean Harlow blonds of her time. She was also difficult to get along with, according to some sources. But she is more timeless than most. Dashiell Hammett, who wrote "City Streets," said she was the best part of the movie. For me, she's the best part of any movie she's in.
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