City Streets

82 minutes 1931

Rouben Mamoulian's heavy-handed 1931 adaptation of one of Dashiell Hammett's less revered short stories is perennially revived as an example of the early "creative" use of sound, thanks largely to a tricky flashback sequence in which slum child Sylvia Sidney recounts her past. Mamoulian's innovations, however, remain mostly on the surface, and Hitchcock had got this sort of futzing around out of his system a year earlier with Murder. But Gary Cooper, in a fine, gangly performance as a saintly bootlegger, is worth watching.

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