Back Street

  • Film
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Fine adaptation of Fannie Hurst's tearjerking novel about a girl (Dunne) who falls in love with a man engaged to be married. An accident prevents her from pursuing the romance; he marries; and when they meet again after some years, she becomes his mistress. Soon realising the demi-paradise that awaits her alone in 'the back street' of his life, she tries to break away, only to find that the desperate need created by their love for each other makes this impossible; and remaining loyal for the rest of her life, she calmly accepts all the heartbreak and humiliation that follows. Stahl counters the danger of sentimentality by maintaining an even, beautifully controlled monotone (very moving in its quietude) that establishes a discreet distance between his camera and the excesses of the plot. One thinks, oddly, of Ozu and Dreyer as the characters find themselves quietly swept away by currents over which they have no control.

Release details

Duration: 92 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John M Stahl
Screenwriter: Gladys Lehman, Lynn Starling
Cast: Irene Dunne
John Boles
George Meeker
ZaSu Pitts
Arlette Duncan
June Clyde
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