Monday, March 14, 2011

Pre-Code: City Streets (1931).

City Streets (1931). Pre-Code crime film directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Cast: Gary Cooper, Sylvia Sidney, Paul Lukas and Guy Kibbee.

The story begins when Bootlegger Blackie, is killed by Pop Cooley, because of Maskal's involvement with, Aggie. After Pop shoots Blackie, he gives the gun to his step-daughter Nan and she takes the rap for him, believing that the mob will get her out of jail.

While in prison, Pop recruits Nan's boyfriend, "The Kid," a sharpshooter with the circus. When he visits Nan in a fur coat, she does not want him to become involved with Pop after witnessing a fellow inmate's mobster boyfriend being gunned down.

After serving her term, Nan is released and returns home to find her step father does not really care about her. Nan, wants nothing more to do with the mob but, she may be too late.

I think this is Gary Cooper's, only film in the gangster genre although he did run into a few gangsters in the film, Ball Of Fire.

Fun Facts:

Sylvia Sidney replaced Clara Bow, who was fired when she failed to show up on the first day of filming.

Paul Lukas (May 26, 1891 – August 15, 1971). At first, he played womanizers, but soon, became typecast as a villain.

In the 1930s, he performed in the films: The Lady Vanishes, Ladies in Love, Dodsworth, The Casino Murder Case, but his major role came in the film, Watch on the Rhine(1934). He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the role, winning out over, Humphrey Bogart in, Casablanca, Gary Cooper in, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Walter Pidgeon in Madame Curie, and Mickey Rooney in, The Human Comedy.

Paul Lukas is well known for his role as, Professor Aronnax in Walt Disney's classic film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954). By that time, he was, at age 63, suffering from memory problems during the production.

My favorite Paul Lukas films:

Samson and Delilah (1922)
Grumpy (1930)
City Streets (1931)
Little Women (1933)
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Captain Fury (1939)
Fun in Acapulco (1963)


  1. Great post! I just saw City Streets myself. It IS the only gangster role Cooper played- he seemed a bit out of his element playing it. However, he's no less dashing and handsome!

  2. I watched this...last night?...enjoyed it - I think Pre-Code gangster films (good & bad) may be a guilty pleasure of mine...Sylvia Sidney (quite fetching) and Gary Cooper (tall, dark & gorgeous) had very nice chemistry together. Loved the scene where Lukas's spurned girlfriend managed to shoot him dead with one shot from a very tenuous vantage point (a crack in the door)...

  3. Sarah, Thank you. What can I say about Gary Cooper? He is even great as a "Gangsta"..((sigh))

    The Lady Eve, I also love Pre-Code gangster films. Nothing worse then a spurned woman. ;)


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