6.4/10
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Quality Street (1937)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 26 March 1937 (USA)
In the 1810s, an old maid poses as her own niece in order to teach her onetime beau a lesson.

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(by) (as Sir James M. Barrie), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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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

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Plot Keywords:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

26 March 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Rua da Vaidade  »

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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

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 »

Quotes

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]
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Connections

Version of Quality Street (1927) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Misread Signals
18 December 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

For her second time in a James M. Barrie role, Katharine Hepburn starred in a remake of Quality Street. Hepburn had previously played a little Scot's minx in The Little Minister also for RKO.

Barrie did right by her again, she was well cast as one of the Throssel sisters of Great Britain of the Napoleonic Era. She and sister Fay Bainter look like they're doomed to be spinsters. Bainter has resigned herself to that fate, but Hepburn still has hopes.

But when she thinks Franchot Tone might be popping the question, he's only around to tell her he's doing what Admiral Nelson expects of every man, his duty to England. In 1805 he enlists in the army and Hepburn and Bainter go on teaching school.

Ten years go by and when Tone doesn't at first recognize Hepburn when he returns, she thinks her prime has passed. But she'll teach Tone a lesson by impersonating her own made up niece. And what a niece, a naughty flirt who entrances all the young blades returned from the wars and doing a job on Tone's ego as well.

Quality Street has a quality history, it was first performed on Broadway by the immortal Maude Adams in 1901 and then made a silent film in 1927 starring Marion Davies and Conrad Nagel. I can certainly see why William Randolph Hearst thought this a good role for Davies. She could be both a crinolined heroine and also use her comic talents as well. Hepburn also gets to use her full talents playing one role straight and imitating a fictitious person at the same time.

Quality Street got an Oscar nomination for Best Musical Score. If it sounds familiar the theme was recycled later on for the frontier film Rachel And The Stranger. It was even given words that were sung on record by that film's star Robert Mitchum.

And George Stevens after doing Alice Adams with Hepburn was assigned this one as well. He'd do even better the third and last time he worked with Hepburn in Woman Of The Year.

Quality Street is a good film, but I'm sure that Depression Era audiences found a Victorian Era comedy a bit dated.


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