Pretty Rae Smith and handsome Walter Saxel meet, fall in love and make plans to marry. Unfortunately, their marriage plans get sabotaged when a jealous beau makes Rae miss the ceremony. The... See full summary »
In Lincoln, the ambitious aspirant-designer Rae Smith has an incident with a wolf department store businessman and is rescued by the Marine Paul Saxon. They immediately fall in love with ... See full summary »
Tom Collier has had a great relationship with Daisy, but when he decides to marry, it is not Daisy whom he asks, it is Cecelia. After the marriage, Tom is bored with the social scene and ... See full summary »
A pre-code film in which Ray and Walter fall in love...but he's married!
Ha...I thought my summary would get your attention! While "Back Street" is clearly a pre-code film in its sensibilities, it's not THAT open-minded. You see, Ray is a lady (Irene Dunne)--an oddly named on at that! But, she does fall in love with a married man...and that definitely gives the film pre-code sensibilities.
The film begins in Cincinnati around the turn of the 20th century and much of it takes place around Over the Rhine--a neighborhood in the northern portion of the city and which was known for its German community and beer gardens (now...it's a far more unsavory area...but improving). Because I lived in Cincinnati for 14 years, I enjoyed hearing about the area--such as her lover, Walter (John Boles) who lived in nearby Hamilton as well as their meeting in Eden Park. In fact, for that reason, the film is a must-see for Cincinnatians. But should other folks watch "Back Street"? Read on.
When the film begins, Ray is a popular lady with many suitors. However, she inexplicably falls for Walter and falls hard. However, the night they are supposed to meet, they somehow miss each other and only meet up again five years later--after he's married and has a family. Despite this, the pair begin seeing each other and Ray throws caution and morality to the wind. He soon rents her an apartment and she's a kept woman...Walter's mistress while he pretends to be a good husband.
For me, "Back Street" is a very hard sell...even with its Cincinnati connection. After all, it's hardly a romance since the plot is all about adultery. The film does seem to paint it in romantic terms and there is a speech by Walter later in the film where he justifies having this mistress for decades. Romantic...certainly not. Plus, so often Ray just comes of as pathetic...especially when she lectures another kept woman about the sanctity of marriage and then, literally, Walter walks in the door and she drops everything to run to him! As for Walter, he's just a selfish jerk despite his lovely speech glorfying the joys of adultery! Well acted and interesting...but also a sad film that is easy to dislike. Perhaps too 'modern' in its sensibilities for an old fashioned guy like me. Slickly made but not a film I enjoyed.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?