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 »

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(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Rae Smith
...
Paul Saxon
...
Liz Saxon
...
Virginia Grey ...
Janey nee Smith
...
Dalian
Tammy Marihugh ...
Caroline
Robert Eyer ...
Paul Saxon Jr.
...
Mrs. Evans
Doreen McLean ...
Miss Hatfield
...
Mr. Venner
Karen Norris ...
Mrs. Penworth
...
Charley Claypole
Mary Lawrence ...
Marge Claypole
Joseph Cronin ...
Airport Clerk
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Storyline

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 a definite spark between them but circumstances intervene and he leaves town without her. Later she learns he's married. Determined to make it as a fashion designer, Rae moves to New York and becomes a great success. One day she happens to meet Paul again and again there's that spark but he's still married so, as a form of escape, Rae moves to Rome to set up shop. Once again she meets Paul and finally they begin an actual affair since Paul's shrewish, drunken wife, Liz, won't give him a divorce. Time passes, the affair continues whenever time and place permit, but then, Paul's young son finds out about Rae and Rae's back-street world begins to crumble. Written by dinky-4 of Minneapolis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She Shut Her Eyes to Shame...When She Opened Her Heart to Love!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

Release Date:

12 October 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La calle de atrás  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Third screen version of Fannie Hurt's novel. See more »

Quotes

Paul Saxon: Liz! A few more drinks, and you'll fall flat on your face!
Liz Saxon: Let's find out!
See more »

Connections

Version of Back Street (1932) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An age-defying film
30 April 2001 | by (Minneapolis) – See all my reviews

When first released some forty years ago, critics rightly complained about the soap-opera plot, the melodramatic dialog, the stock characters, and the excessive showcasing of sets and costumes. These complaints are still valid, but over the course of four decades, a realization has emerged that despite or even because of these failings, "Back Street" is a gloriously entertaining work that plays just as well now as it did back in 1961. How many other movies can claim this sort of durability? I would, however, like to point out five faults in the production. (1) Susan Hayward is a good ten or even fifteen years too old for this part. (2) The film's supposed message about the emptiness of being the "other woman" is blunted by the opulent success in which Hayward lives. (3) Vera Miles' character is so selfish and shrewish that one can't imagine why John Gavin ever married her. There should have been a line about how he'd been forced into an "arranged" marriage in order to save the family business. (4) When Gavin and Hayward meet for the first time in New York, after their initial encounter in Nebraska, he seems surprised to learn that she's now the famous fashion-designer who signs her creations "rae" -- all small letters, very chic -- even though she'd specifically told him of her plans at their first meeting. How many fashion-designers named "rae" did he think there were in the world? (5) One must wait more than forty minutes before Gavin takes his shirt off, and then he just has a dimly-lit scene where he and Hayward run out of the ocean in modest swim-wear before reclining on a beach towel. Gavin's physique deserved much more exposure than this.


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