7.1/10
369
12 user 3 critic

Back Street (1941)

Approved | | Drama | 7 February 1941 (USA)
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 »

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Back Street (1932)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A woman's love for and devotion to a married man results in her being relegated to the "back streets" of his life.

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: Irene Dunne, John Boles, June Clyde
Back Street (1961)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Ambitious but thwarted, Rae Smith meets handsome Marine Paul Saxon, (of the Saxon department store chain), as he passes through Lincoln, Nebraska, on his way home from World War II. There's... See full summary »

Director: David Miller
Stars: Susan Hayward, John Gavin, Vera Miles
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Charming Andre Cassil woos physician Jane Alexander and the two impulsively get married. The honeymoon ends very quickly when Jane voices her progressive views on marriage which include the... See full summary »

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Charles Boyer, Margaret Sullavan, Rita Johnson
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Story about three German refugees during World War II who are always hiding, always in fear of deportation.

Director: John Cromwell
Stars: Fredric March, Margaret Sullavan, Frances Dee
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A love story centered around the lives of three young German soldiers in the years following World War I. Their close friendship is strengthened by their shared love for the same woman who ... See full summary »

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Robert Taylor, Margaret Sullavan, Franchot Tone
Film-Noir | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A serial killer (circa 1916) is targeting women with 'afflictions'; one night during a thunderstorm, mute Helen feels menaced.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, Ethel Barrymore
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

During WWI Bill Pettigrew, a naive young Texan soldier is sent to New York for basic training. He meets worldly wise actress Daisy Heath when her car nearly runs him over. Daisy agrees to ... See full summary »

Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Walter Pidgeon
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A nightclub dancer marries into society and has to contend with her jealous sister-in-law.

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Joan Crawford, Margaret Sullavan, Robert Young
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The Roth family lead a quiet life in a small village in the German Alps during the early 1930s. When the Nazis come to power, the family is divided and Martin Brietner, a family friend is caught up in the turmoil.

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Robert Young
Man Hunt (1941)
Drama | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

British hunter Thorndike vacationing in Bavaria has Hitler in his gun sight. He is captured, beaten, left for dead, and escapes back to London where he is hounded by German agents and aided by a young woman.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Through a fluke circumstance a ruthless woman stumbles across a suitcase filled with $60,000, and she is determined to hold onto it even it if means murder.

Director: Byron Haskin
Stars: Lizabeth Scott, Don DeFore, Dan Duryea
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The life of spoiled rich Robert Merrick is saved through the use of a hospital's only resuscitator, but because the medical device cannot be in two places at once, it results in the death ... See full summary »

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: Irene Dunne, Robert Taylor, Charles Butterworth
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Ed Porter
...
Richard Saxel
Frank Jenks ...
Harry Niles
Esther Dale ...
Mrs. Smith
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Felix Darren
...
Fredda Smith
Nell O'Day ...
Elizabeth Saxel
Kitty O'Neil ...
Mrs. Dilling
...
Corinne Saxel
Cecil Cunningham ...
Mrs. Miller
Marjorie Gateson ...
Mrs. Adams
Dale Winter ...
Miss Evans
Edit

Storyline

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 two meet many years later in New York, only now Walter is married. Refusing to be shut out of his life, Rae agrees to be Walter's mistress. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 February 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Esquina do Pecado  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Alfred Hitchcock was considered for directing this film. See more »

Connections

Version of Back Street (1932) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(uncredited)
Traditional Scottish music
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Sung by New Year's Eve party revellers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Imitation of Wife
25 September 2011 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

BACK STREET (Universal, 1941), directed by Robert Stevenson, is one of the finer love stories from the "soap opera" school that owes its success to the popular 1931 novel authored by Fannie Hurst. Initially produced by Universal in 1932 starring Irene Dunne and John Boles, this latest edition not only improves in style and performance from the earlier tearjerker, but simply indicates how "great movies are not made, they're remade." Usually whenever an original product gets redone, comparisons are usually made. There's no question that the Dunne and Boles romancer proved highly successful, but in contrast, this edition benefits greatly by its fine scripting by Bruce Manning and Felix Jackson, believable performances by Charles Boyer and Margaret Sullavan, and most of all, its impressive and sensitive scoring by Frank Skinner.

Following the same pattern to the original, with few alterations along the way, the story gets underway in "Cincinnati, at the turn of the century" where Ray Smith (Margaret Sullavan) parades down the street with Curt Stanton (Richard Carlson), owner of a bicycle shop who later becomes an automobile manufacturer in Michigan. While Curt loves Ray and hopes to marry her, she very much prefers her carefree lifestyle and the company of various male suitors, especially Eddie Porter (Frank McHugh), a traveling salesman. While Ray bids Eddie farewell at the train station, he introduces her to Walter Louis Saxel (Charles Boyer), a Louisiana Frenchman and prominent New York banker arriving on a short stay before leaving on the next ferryboat. Not only do Ray and Walter become better acquainted within a few hours, but fall deeply in love. Having remained in town longer than expected, Walter makes arrangements to leave. Before he does, he confesses his engagement to marry and that they will never see each other again. The following morning, however, Walter, who cannot forget Ray, telephones her to meet him at the dock. Before her arrival, Walter makes preparations for a surprise wedding that's to take place on the boat between him and Ray. As Ray closes shop to meet Walter, situations occur preventing her from arriving at all. By the time she does gets there, she finds Walter gone and the ferryboat slowly disappearing from view. Five years pass. Ray, now a clothing designer in New York City, meets Walter again, now a prominent banker. Regardless of Walter now a married man with a son, the couple find they cannot live without each other. For the next 25 years (with its final chapter set in 1928), Ray lives the "back street" of Walter's life, passing herself off to others as his wife, Mrs. Raymond Smith. Problems take its toll as the middle-aged Ray is confronted by Walter's two grown children (Tim Holt and Nell O'Day). Having known of their father's illicit affair, they make ever effort of doing something about it.

The basic premise to BACK STREET is "what if?" What if Ray were able to meet Walter at the dock and marry him as planned. Would their lives have been happier? Possibly so. Had it worked out that way, then there wouldn't have been the classic story of complications as we know it. Essentially a Sullavan film, it is Boyer whose name heads the cast of such notables as Esther Dale (Mrs. Smith, Ray's stepmother); Kitty O'Neil (Mrs. Dilling, the kindly landlady); Frank Jenks (Harry Niles); Samuel S. Hinds (Felix Darren); Nella Walker (Corinne Saxel, Walter's wife); Peggy Stewart (Freda, Ray's sister); Cecil Cunningham (Mrs. Miller) and Marjorie Gateson (Mrs. Adams). There's also surprise casting of cowboy actor Tim Holt playing Boyer's son, and a more or less straight performance by funster, Frank McHugh.

Boyer, the romantic, is no stranger to motion picture love stories, with LOVE AFFAIR (RKO Radio, 1939) opposite Irene Dunne, being one of his best portrayals. However, his Walter Saxel is less sympathetic due to his selfishness for keeping both wife and mistress, and the way he takes Ray for granted. One such scene is evident as Walter spends an entire summer vacationing in Europe with his wife, with Ray waiting alone in her apartment for his letters that never come. Upon his return, days after the boat docks, Walter, without considering Ray's feelings, presents the news he's a father again. Ray, on the other hand, is strong willed except when it comes to Walter. Comparing the climatic showdown between father and son in both 1932 and 1941 editions, the soft-spoken Boles, best suited for faithful husband roles, presents himself as weak while Boyer's strong voice and forceful manner, especially when telling his son to mind his own business, is truly felt. Irene Dunne (Ray Schmidt) and Margaret Sullavan (Ray Smith), two different screen personalities, form their own interpretation of the same heroine, which works well on both levels for their performances.

BACK STREET proved favorable viewing with its frequent TV broadcasts throughout much of the 1970s, especially on WOR, Channel 9's "Million Dollar Movie" in New York City. In an August 1975 showing, BACK STREET was given a special broadcast without commercial interruptions. Interestingly, however, only the third retelling of the story, the 1961 modern-dress/ Technicolor version starring Susan Hayward and John Gavin was made available onto home video in the 1990s. In 2011, both 1941 and 1961 versions to BACK STREET have become available on DVD package through Turner Home Entertainment. A pity there wasn't a triple feature using all three editions to the Fanny Hurst tearjerker. Cable television history to 1941's BACK STREET consisted that of American Movie Classics (1990-1998), sometimes on the double bill with the 1932 original, and Turner Classic Movie (TCM premiere July 19, 2001.) While Boyer and Sullavan worked together again, this time in a comedy titled APPOINTMENT FOR LOVE (Universal, 1941), it's this version of BACK STREET for which they will be remembered best. (***)


7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Back Street (1941) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?