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Quality Street (1937)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Romance  -  26 March 1937 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 655 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 6 critic

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

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Title: Quality Street (1937)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Eric Blore ...
Recruiting Sergeant
Fay Bainter ...
Cora Witherspoon ...
...
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

26 March 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Rua da Vaidade  »

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway play starred legendary actress Maude Adams. It opened at the Knickerbocker Theatre in New York on November 11, 1901 and ran for 64 performances. See more »

Connections

Featured in George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (1984) 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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