Quality Street (1937)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  26 March 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 742 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 6 critic

In the 1810s, an old maid poses as her own niece in order to teach her onetime beau a lesson.



(by) (as Sir James M. Barrie) , (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Eric Blore ...
Fay Bainter ...
Cora Witherspoon ...


It's 1805 England, specifically on Quality Street, where a gentleman passerby is an event, not only for the lady being called upon, but also for the ever watching nosy female neighbors. Based on recent events, twenty year old Phoebe Throssel believes that a proposal of marriage from Dr. Valentine Brown is imminent. However, what Dr. Brown has come to tell Phoebe is that he has enlisted in the army to fight in the Napoleonic Wars, with no mention of any romantic feeling for her from his side. Fast forward ten years. Phoebe and her similarly older spinster sister Susan now run a school. The years and situation have not been kind to Phoebe, now thirty, drab and thus considered an unmarriable spinster. Upon Captain Brown's arrival back to Quality Street, he, by his immediate reaction to seeing Phoebe, too has noticed how Phoebe has changed from what he previously knew as a pretty young thing. Heartbroken, Phoebe, if only for herself, decides to regain some of her youth by paying attention... Written by Huggo

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Plot Keywords:

spinster | school | maid | niece | old maid | See All (45) »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 March 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Rua da Vaidade  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Katharine Hepburn and Joan Fontaine both appeared in productions of The Lion in Winter (Hepburn in a 1968 film version, Fontaine in a 1979 Austrian stage production) and both passed away at the age of 96. See more »


Mary Willoughby: [Goes to the window and looks out] It's that impertinent recruiting sergeant. I passed him on the street yesterday. He closed one of his eyes at me, then quickly opened it again.
[She demonstrates to the other ladies in the room]
Mary Willoughby: I knew what he meant.
[She looks out again and sees the recruiting officer wink at her. She quickly closes the window curtain]
See more »


Version of Quality Street (1927) See more »

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User Reviews

sweet film
23 October 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Quality Street" from 1937 stars Katharine Hepburn, Franchot Tone, Fay Bainter, and Estelle Winwood. It's directed by George Stevens, who directed Hepburn later in Woman of the Year.

Hepburn plays Phoebe Throssel, a lovely young woman living with her spinster sister (Bainter) and surrounded by other spinsters who are neighbors in 1800. Phoebe is in love with one man, Valentine Brown -- as is pointed out in the film, other men have come calling, but Phoebe didn't want them.

Valentine, however, is off to the Napoleonic Wars. When he returns ten years later, Phoebe and her sister have opened a school in their home. Phoebe is embarrassed at being so exhausted and believes she has lost her looks. Nevertheless, Valentine wants her to attend the homecoming ball.

Phoebe, trying to prove something to herself, puts on a fancy dress and does her hair differently. When Valentine arrives, she introduces herself as Olivia ("Livvie"), Phoebe's niece. She gives him Phoebe's regrets, but she doesn't feel well. The two attend the ball together, where Livvy is surrounded by men. She believes that she now has a chance of Valentine proposing to Livvy. If only she can stay away from people who can expose her.

James Barrie wrote many plays that were performed by some of theater's biggest stars at the beginning of this century so it's no wonder Hollywood made it as a movie. It still retains many of its play-like qualities.

The character actors -- Bainter, Winwood, Eric Blore, are wonderful. Tone is very handsome though he doesn't have much to do. Though some might disagree, I felt Hepburn was somewhat miscast. Her portrayal of Phoebe/Livvie, though energetic, feels "put on" rather than organic. She was a tremendously strong actress but pulls back here - it doesn't seem natural.

The cast must have had a great deal of patience - Stevens, known as a very nice man, was known for having actors do 40 takes of one scene; it's one reason why Montgomery Clift never worked for him again after A Place in the Sun. He just didn't have the patience for it.

This is a charming, light film that looks stagy, but that shouldn't hurt your enjoyment of it.

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