Created by Dashiell
City Streets (Paramount, 1931) was one of the few Dashiell
Hammett stories written to be adapted to film ("After the
Thin Man" and "Another Thin Man' are the others), and
as such probably deserves our attention. I've no idea if the film
itself is worth digging up or not, but who knows? There's some
good camera work, supposedly, and a guy gets stabbed with a fork.
And Carl Macek, in Film
Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style,
calls it "an unusually decadent and stylish gangster film."
It's not a private eye tale, but it does star Gary Cooper as
THE KID, a laidback, hick carny working the shooting gallery
racket at a travelling fair. Nan, a mobster's daughter, falls
in a big way for The Kid, despite his lack of interest in joining
daddy's business and supporting her in the lifestyle she's accustomed
to. But, when daddy dearest frames her on a murder beef, and she's
sent to prison, Nan's attitude changes. While she's whiling away
her time in the big house, her father cons The Kid into joining
the gang in order to help free Nan, only to have The Kid end up
running the gang. But when Nan is sprung, she wants nothing more
to do with the mob and tries to get The Kid to quit.
- "Cooper is an unambitious carnival worker who's drawn
into the underworld by his love for racketeer's daughter (Sidney).
Stylish melodrama is more interesting for Mamoulian's innovative
presentation (and the stunning camerawork of Lee Garmes) than
for its predictable plot. Lukas and Kibbee stand out in unusually
smarmy characterizations. Notable, too, as Dashiell Hammett's
only original screen story."
Movie & Video Guide)
- CITY STREETS
(1931, Paramount Pictures)
83 minutes, black and white
Based on an original story
by Dashiell Hammett
Screenplay by Oliver H.P. Garrett and Max Marcin
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian
Cinematography by Lee Garmes
Produced by E. Lloyd Sheldon
Tagline: Love and courage
pitted against a ruthless hate!
Starring Gary Cooper as THE
with Sylvia Sidney as Nan
Also starring William Boyd,
Paul Lukas, Guy Kibbee, Terry Carroll, Allan Cavan, William Elliott,
Stanley Fields, Norman Foster, Wynne Gibson, Bert Hanlon, Robert
Homans, Bob Kortman, Ethan Laidlaw
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