Let’s roll back to 1931 and enjoy a fabulous pre-Code pre-noir together!
City Streets (1931) is a pre-Code adventure (“Throbbing with thrills!”) about Nan (Sylvia Sidney — who replaced an ill Clara Bow in the role), a mobster’s daughter, who falls for The Kid (Gary Cooper), a carnival sharpshooter. Only by joining the rackets can he support her in the lifestyle to which she wants to stay accustomed, but he refuses. But after Nan’s father (Guy Kibbee) implicates her in a murder and she lands in jail, The Kid changes his tune and joins up, determined to free Nan.
While it could be called a gangster picture with a romance at its heart, most critics identify City Streets as early noir or pre-noir because of its expressionistic cinematography, violent mood over graphic display, original story by Dashiell Hammett, emphasis on the role of fate and circumstance, and dark tone.
Personally, I love the performances by Sidney and Cooper — and there’s even a happy ending. It’s an early sound treat.
So join the #BNoirDetour live tweet this Sunday, 4/24 at 9pm ET and enjoy the pre-Code fun!