City Streets

Film

Gangster films

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Time Out says

Strikingly stylised bootlegging yarn, more romance than gangster movie, said to have been an Al Capone favourite because the gang boss (Lukas), far from rampaging Cagney-style with machine-gun in the streets, is always careful to be seen to have clean hands: all deaths take place discreetly off-screen, and a contract to kill drawn up in an offhand line of dialogue ('I'd be willing to do business with you, if anything happened to Blackie') is equally elliptically sealed when the other party lights his cigar, looks at the match, and then pensively snuffs it out. Mamoulian sometimes over-stresses the visual and aural symbolism he experiments with in support of these ellipses, but creates a wonderfully evocative, low-key atmosphere not dissimilar to Sternberg's Underworld with terrific camerawork from Lee Garmes, and fine performances from Cooper and Sidney as the young lovers enmeshed in the rackets.
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Release details

UK release:

1931

Duration:

75 mins

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