Back Street

Back Street

Director: David Miller, Susan Hayward, John Gavin, Vera Miles

Cast: David Miller, Susan Hayward, John Gavin, Vera Miles

     
 

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This third film version of the lachrymose Fannie Hurst novel Back Street stars Susan Hayward as Rae Smith the role previously essayed by Irene Dunne (in 1932) and Margaret Sullavan (in 1941). In both earlier films, Rae Smith sacrifices 28 years of her life to her married lover, who can never get a divorce and who compels Rae to squirrel herself away in a shabby

Overview

This third film version of the lachrymose Fannie Hurst novel Back Street stars Susan Hayward as Rae Smith the role previously essayed by Irene Dunne (in 1932) and Margaret Sullavan (in 1941). In both earlier films, Rae Smith sacrifices 28 years of her life to her married lover, who can never get a divorce and who compels Rae to squirrel herself away in a shabby back-street apartment. In contrast, Susan Hayward's Rae Smith is a fiercely independent fashion designer, whose fidelity to the very married John Gavin doesn't retard her livelihood in the least. Vera Miles makes a meal of her supporting role as Gavin's shrewish, alcoholic wife. Though cinematographer Stanley Cortez does his utmost, he can't completely hide the fact that Hayward is at least ten years older than her costars, making her seem more of a doting aunt than the "other woman" (the film might have been more effective had Hayward and Miles switched roles). Its plot inconsistencies and logic lapses notwithstanding, Back Street proved to be another hit for producer Ross Hunter.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Even though this version of Back Street far outdoes previous versions in terms of gloss and sheen, it's ultimately less effective than the classic Irene Dunne-Charles Boyer version. It's hard to say that films that aim to be nothing more than soap opera have a great deal of depth, but this Street is definitely more shallow than the 1941 version. The major problem is that the creators don't really seem to believe in the material; instead, they act as if they've been handed a blueprint and have built a project perfectly according to plan, but with little of themselves invested in it. Because the structure is sound, it still works -- at least for fans of weepies like this -- but it fails to engage the viewer in any but the most basic way. The casting of the lovers is also a bit of a problem. John Gavin certainly has the appropriate matinee idol looks for the part, but his performance is wooden and unconvincing. Susan Hayward is quite good, but also a bit too old for the part; also, despite her skill, she's not exactly the right type for this kind of glossy melodrama, and she compensates by overacting a bit. Of course, compared to Vera Miles,, she's a model of restraint. But Miles' delicious performance is in a role that's meant to be totally over the top. She steals the movie away from the stars without batting an eyelash. Miles and the sleek production make the film worth catching.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/05/2014
UPC:
0025192095986
Original Release:
1961
Source:
Universal Mod
Time:
1:47:00
Sales rank:
2,216

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Susan Hayward Rae Smith
John Gavin Paul Saxon
Vera Miles Liz Saxon
Charles Drake Curt Stanton
Virginia Grey Janey nee Smith
Reginald Gardiner Dalian
Tammy Marihugh Caroline Saxon
Robert Eyer Paul Saxon
Natalie Schafer Mrs. Evans
Alex Gerry Mr. Venner
Karen Norris Mrs. Penworth
Hayden Rorke Charley Claypole
Mary Lawrence Marge Claypole
Ted Thorpe Hotel Clerk
Joseph Mell Proprietor
Dick Kallman Sailor
Joyce Meadows Model
Lilyan Chauvin Paris Airport Employee
Richard Eyer Paul Saxon Jr.

Technical Credits
David Miller Director
Alexander Golitzen Art Director
Miton Carruth Editor
Stanley Cortez Cinematographer
Eleanore Griffin Screenwriter
Ross Hunter Producer
Fannie Hurst Screenwriter
Jean Louis Costumes/Costume Designer
William Ludwig Screenwriter
Frank Skinner Score Composer

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