6.9/10
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6 user 1 critic

Side Streets (1934)

TV-PG | | Drama | 14 July 1934 (USA)
A destitute sailor secures a job with a spinster who runs a small fur trimming shop. They marry, and soon have a child, but he cheats on her with serious consequences.

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(screen play), (story "Fur Coats") | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Aline MacMahon ...
Bertha Krasnoff
Paul Kelly ...
Tim O'Hara
...
Marguerite Gilbert
Dorothy Tree ...
Ilka
Helen Lowell ...
Tillie
Henry O'Neill ...
George Richards
...
Maizie Roach
Renee Whitney ...
Mabel Vernon
Lynn Browning ...
Madeline Ware
Lorena Layson ...
Helen Ware
Dorothy Peterson ...
Mrs. Richards
Clay Clement ...
Jack
Paul Kaye ...
Ray
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Patricia Ellis ...
Mary Thatcher (scenes deleted)
Marjorie Gateson ...
Mrs. Thatcher (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Bertha Krasnoff, better known as Madame Valerie to her customers, is a San Francisco based furrier. Her plain looks and attire belie the glamorous outward nature of the business, she making no real effort in improving her personal appearance. She is a shrewd businesswoman, locating her business on a lower rent side street, and knowing what her customers can and cannot afford to charge them the highest possible price. She meets Tim O'Hara, a sailor. What she doesn't know about him is that he is unable to get a job on a ship due to his reputation as being unreliable. Bertha falls under his spell, first taking him in, then giving him a job despite he providing no real value to the business, and then marrying him. What she also learns shortly after their marriage is that he is a chronic philanderer. What she is also unaware of is that he is biding his time with her until he can get back to the sea. Their marriage goes through ups and downs, the changes sometimes based on the changing ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 July 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Woman in Her Thirties  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Nancy Lee
(1916) (uncredited)
Music by Stephen Adams
Lyrics by Frederick Edward Weatherly
Sung by Paul Kelly while drying dishes
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User Reviews

 
A Popeye with a roving eye walks the precode streets of San Francisco
3 May 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a sentimental favorite of mine with an actress - Aline McMahon

  • that was usually linked with supporting comedic roles in a rare lead


appearance in a drama. But wow, just wow, could she tug your heart strings when you gave her a chance. Watch this film and "Heat Lightning" to know what I'm talking about.

Aline McMahon is Bertha, a "side street" furrier. She's not one of the big outfits so she has to be cagey and good with the customers to make a respectable but not great living, and she does. She meets a down and out sailor, Tim (Paul Kelly). She's lonely, he needs room and board, she offers him a job, he takes it. It isn't long before it's obvious he's just milking the situation and doing as little as possible to earn his keep, probably sensing Bertha's loneliness will keep a roof over his head. He strengthens his position even more when he marries her. Now Bertha is being made out to be "a spinster", even though she looks all of 35 and has a very natural beauty if you ask me. All of this dialogue about her being a plain Jane perplexes me. She's a woman alone in the world who is busy trying to keep a business afloat and doesn't have time to dress up in her own fancy merchandise.

After marriage, Tim is kind enough to Bertha, but a new sweetie soon has his eye in the person of Marguerite (Ann Dvorak). He's thinking about heading back out to sea but then he finds a bill for an obstetrician visit among Bertha's things and suddenly becomes a changed man. He makes as close to a confession to Bertha as you'd ever get of a slicky boy like Tim, and Bertha says she's known all along and forgives him. Tim breaks it off with Marguerite, determined to turn over a new leaf, but there's one thing with Marguerite he can't break off.

I'll let you watch and see how this all works out. This film really gives you a feeling of how the long-term lowered expectations of the average man and woman on the street during the Great Depression affected their behavior. Men and women unable to get work attaching themselves to one of the opposite sex that was financially OK just for survival, some of the wealthier people taking advantage of the situation, what happened to cast-off women in cases when the wealthy man didn't want them anymore. Highly recommended.


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