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Side Streets (1934)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 14 July 1934 (USA)
A destitute sailor secures a job with a spinster who runs a small fur trimming shop. They marry, and soon have a child, but he cheats on her with serious consequences.


Alfred E. Green


Manuel Seff (screen play), Ann Garrick (story "Fur Coats") | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Aline MacMahon ... Bertha Krasnoff
Paul Kelly ... Tim O'Hara
Ann Dvorak ... Marguerite Gilbert
Dorothy Tree ... Ilka
Helen Lowell ... Tillie
Henry O'Neill ... George Richards
Mayo Methot ... Maizie Roach
Renee Whitney ... Mabel Vernon
Lynn Browning ... Madeline Ware
Lorena Layson ... Helen Ware
Dorothy Peterson ... Mrs. Richards
Clay Clement ... Jack
Paul Kaye Paul Kaye ... Ray
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Patricia Ellis ... Mary Thatcher (scenes deleted)
Marjorie Gateson ... Mrs. Thatcher (scenes deleted)


Bertha Krasnoff, better known as Madame Valerie to her customers, is a San Francisco based furrier. Her plain looks and attire belie the glamorous outward nature of the business, she making no real effort in improving her personal appearance. She is a shrewd businesswoman, locating her business on a lower rent side street, and knowing what her customers can and cannot afford to charge them the highest possible price. She meets Tim O'Hara, a sailor. What she doesn't know about him is that he is unable to get a job on a ship due to his reputation as being unreliable. Bertha falls under his spell, first taking him in, then giving him a job despite he providing no real value to the business, and then marrying him. What she also learns shortly after their marriage is that he is a chronic philanderer. What she is also unaware of is that he is biding his time with her until he can get back to the sea. Their marriage goes through ups and downs, the changes sometimes based on the changing ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Heart Story of a Woman's Fight to Hold Love (Print Ad- Telegraph-Herald, ((Dubuque, Iowa)) 8 August 1934)


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Bertha Krasnof (Aline MacMahon) offers to sell a fur coat for the bargain price of $250. That would be just under $4750 in 2018 dollars. See more »


Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms
(1808) (uncredited)
Music Traditional
Lyrics by Thomas Moore
Sung by Helen Lowell
See more »

User Reviews

Sides Streets offers decent short cut.
25 May 2013 | by st-shotSee all my reviews

Supporting mainstay Aline McMahon gives a moving performance in the lead in this brief melancholy drama about a spinster furrier and her rocky relationship with a sailor in San Francisco. Just over an hour in length it has more than its share of melodramatic moments that McMahon reigns over with a quiet restrained dignity that infects the entire film.

Down and out Paul (Paul Kelly) crosses paths with Bertha at the zoo when he attempts to steal some peanuts she is feeding to the monkeys. Non-plussed by it all she saves him from being pinched and takes him in to help with the fur business she runs. Eventually they marry and have a child but Paul's wandering eye threatens to bring to an end.

Whether dealing with the business or the obstacles of her marriage Bertha displays a kind of weary resignation to all that befalls her. McMahon conveys this beautifully with sad eyed stoicism and without hysteria creating scenes of great power with less being more while Kelly, Dorothy Tree, Ann Dvorak and Helen Lowell offer strong counterpoint to her.

Alfred Green's direction takes the same unromantic view (before softening up a touch at the conclusion) as he did in Stanwyck's Baby Face with both coarse and cynical characters and situations evoking both the period and pre-code freedom. It also has the same rapid pace as well making it worth the brief time it requires to watch.

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Release Date:

14 July 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fur Coats See more »


Box Office


$166,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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