Street Scene (film)
|Directed by||King Vidor|
|Produced by||Samuel Goldwyn|
|Written by||Elmer Rice|
William Collier, Jr.
|Music by||Alfred Newman|
|Edited by||Hugh Bennett|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
Street Scene is a 1931 Pre-Code drama film produced by Samuel Goldwyn and directed by King Vidor. With a screenplay by Elmer Rice adapted from his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Street Scene takes place on a New York City street from one evening until the following afternoon. Except for one scene which takes place inside a taxi, Vidor shot the entire film on a single set depicting half a city block of house fronts.
The movie stars Estelle Taylor, David Landau, Sylvia Sidney, William Collier, Jr., and Beulah Bondi (her screen debut). The music score is by Alfred Newman, his first complete film score. Newman composed the eponymous title theme, in the style of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. The theme has been used in other movies, including Cry of the City, Kiss of Death, I Wake Up Screaming, Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Dark Corner, and as the overture to How to Marry a Millionaire.
On a hot summer afternoon in New York, Emma Jones gossips with other neighbors in her residential building about the affair that Mrs. Anna Maurrant and the milkman Steve Sankey are having. When the rude and unfriendly Mr. Frank Maurrant arrives, they change the subject. Meanwhile, their teenage daughter Rose Maurrant is being sexually pressured by her married boss Mr. Bert Easter. She does however very much like her kind young Jewish neighbor Sam, who has a serious crush on her.
The next morning, Frank Maurrant tells his wife that he is traveling to Stamford on business. Mrs. Maurrant meets the gentle Sankey in her apartment, but out of the blue Frank comes back home. He realizes his wife is upstairs with Sankey, and runs upstairs. We hear shots and see the two men struggling as Sankey tries to escape through the window. Maurrant runs out with a gun. He has killed Sankey and fatally wounded his wife.
Maurrant is apprehended and is led away by police. He apologizes to his daughter Rose, who will now have to take care of herself and her young brother without either parent. Rose's boss offers once again to set her up in her own apartment, but she refuses. Then she sees Sam, and tells him she wants to leave the city. Sam pleads with her to let him go with her, but she tells him it will be better for the two of them to have a couple of years apart before they consider becoming a couple. Rose walks off down the street by herself.
The cast is listed here in the order shown in the credits:
- Walter Miller as Bert Easter (Rose's boss)
- Sylvia Sidney as Rose Maurrant
- William Collier, Jr. as Sam Kaplan
- Estelle Taylor as Mrs. Anna Maurrant
- Beulah Bondi as Emma Jones
- David Landau as Frank Maurrant
- Matt McHugh as Vincent Jones
- Russell Hopton as Steve Sankey
- Greta Granstedt as Mae Jones
- Eleanor Wesselhoeft as Marguerite "Greta" Fiorentino
- Allan Fox as Dick McGann
- Nora Cecil as Alice Simpson (welfare worker)
- Walter James as Marshal James Henry
- Max Montor as Abe Kaplan
- T.H. Manning as George Jones
- Conway Washburne as Danny Buchanan
- John Qualen as Karl Olsen
- Ann Kostant as Shirley Kaplan
- Adele Watson as Olga Olsen
- Lambert Rogers as Willie Maurrant
- George Humbert as Filippo Fiorentino
- Helen Lovett as Laura Hildebrand
- Richard Powell as Officer Harry Murphy
- Street Scene at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Street Scene at the Internet Movie Database
- Street Scene is available for free download at the Internet Archive
- Street Scene at AllMovie
- Street Scene at the TCM Movie Database