Production Company: Fox
Top Billed Actors: Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Natalie Kingston
IMDb Rating: 7.6
*Exclusive Award Winner*
Won 1 Oscar:
Best Actress - Janet Gaynor
Nominated for 2 more (2nd Academy Awards):
Best Cinematography - Ernest Palmer
Best Art Direction - Harry Oliver
Plot: Janet Gaynor plays a prostitute again and she whistles with a man over and over again.
However, there are excellent reasons to give this a watch. Gaynor, although I think it is her weakest performance of the three, gives an incredible portrayal of the 'street angel.' Beautiful and talented, Gaynor is the absolute highlight of the film and she proves why the first actress Oscar went to her. The cinematography, interestingly nominated during the 2nd Awards, is also noteworthy. The use of shadows on the lavish set in the opening sequences, especially during the chase scene between Gaynor and the police, is unique and spot on. Also, there are a few sequences in which Farrell is walking around Naples, the camera following behind. I will always enjoy the long takes like this as it appears many times in the movies of Quentin Tarantino some seventy years later.
But like I've stated before, this film is mushy and very similar to 7th Heaven. The stale plot and some cringe-worthy love scenes put a damper on the experience. Whenever Gaynor and Farrell whistled to each other I couldn't help but roll my eyes. The repeated theme in the score became repetitive as much as the whistling. The concept of a specific score accompanying a film was still novel at the time, but after watching The Last Command (1928), the execution here falls short of the high bar that was set.
Overall, there are a few cinematic and acting gems here. The similar plot to 7th Heaven nullifies the significance of this movie though. If you were to only watch one, make it 7th Heaven.
My Score: 7/10