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Street Scene (1931)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 905 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 10 critic

Twenty-four hours elapse on the stoop of a Hell's Kitchen tenement as a microcosm of the American melting pot interacts with each other during a summer heatwave.

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Title: Street Scene (1931)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
William Collier Jr. ...
...
...
David Landau ...
Matt McHugh ...
Russell Hopton ...
Greta Granstedt ...
Mae Jones (as Greta Grandstedt)
Eleanor Wesselhoeft ...
Allen Fox ...
Dick McGann (as Allan Fox)
Nora Cecil ...
Margaret Robertson ...
Walter James ...
Max Montor ...
Walter Miller ...
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Storyline

In a hot summer afternoon in New York, Emma Jones gossips with other neighbors of her residential building about the affair of Mrs. Anna Maurrant and the milkman Steve Sankey. When the rude Mr. Frank Maurrant arrives, they change the subject. Meanwhile, their teenage daughter Rose Maurrant is sexually harassed by her boss Mr. Bert Easter; however, she likes her Jewish neighbor Sam that has a crush on her. On the next morning, Frank tells that is traveling to Stanford on business. Mrs. Maurrant meets the gentle Sankey in her apartment, but out of the blue Frank comes back home in an announced tragedy. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 September 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Engel der Strasse  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$584,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As the police are escorting Frank Maurrant (David Landau) toward the paddy wagon, in the crowd that is following them a man stumbles and falls causing two more people to fall on him. See more »

Quotes

Emma Jones: Aw, men are all alike. They're all easy enough to get along with so long as everything goes the way they want it to, but once it don't, good night.
See more »


Soundtracks

The Sidewalks of New York
(1894) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Lawlor
Played as background music twice when children are playing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Malicious gossip leads to tragedy.
25 April 2001 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

The blistering heat and unrelenting humidity of a hot summer day drive the tenants of a four story walk-up out in front of the house, where they sit on the stoop and gossip about one another with wanton relish. Others hang out the window, watching the cars drive by on the busy, two way street, while the occasional passing of the el can be heard coming down the tracks at the end of the block.

The most vicious of the gossips is played by Beulah Bondi, a hag of a woman who looks much older than her years. Her favorite target is the very lonely, and very stunning Mrs. Maurrant, wonderfully played by Estelle Taylor, who is constantly bullied by her husband, played by David Landau. Mrs. Maurrant is so lovely, she looks more like an older sister to Rose, portrayed nicely by Sylvia Sidney, instead of her mother. Mrs. Maurrant is so desperate for some kindness and attention, that her fondness for the milkman is easily discerned by her jackal-like neighbors. The moment she's out of sight, Beulah Bondi's character starts passing judgment with a vengeance, and gets the other neighbors all stirred up in the process. To make matter's worse, Bondi and the others always act so peculiar every time Mr. Maurrant passes by, that he soon grasps the fact that they think his wife is having an affair with the milkman.

Although the building is filled with people of different nationalities and creeds, all displaying intolerance of others in one way or another, the main theme of the film is the belief that malicious gossip, unforgiving and relenting, is as deadly as any weapon, and probably more so. At least a gun can shoot a person dead in a moment, but cruel and relentless gossip cuts at the heart and soul without mercy. Mrs. Maurrant is chided, ridiculed, humiliated, and made fun of at every turn, while she bravely tries to be friendly and understanding to everyone else. Street Scene is well written and wonderfully acted by all the players, but it's a creaky film with almost no movement. The whole movie is shot on the front stoop of the house, and such a static film may be difficult for some to take. But, it is a touching story that will make some question the usual rules regarding morality and fidelity. Even Mr. Murrant becomes the victim of the gossip, as he explains to his daughter Rose, "It was all the talk that was driving me crazy."


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