Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sylvia Sidney, slum girl

I finally saw Street Scene last night. Sylvia Sidney plays the adult daughter in one of several families living in a lower-class New York City apartment builidng. It struck me that Sidney would go on to play similar roles, although all grown up, in a couple of other films in the 1930s, those being Dead End and One-Third of a Nation. If memory serves, in both of them she's looking after a younger brother and not a son. That's also the case in Sabotage.

Sabotage is unlike the other three movies in a whole bunch of ways, and I find it interesting that Sidney would end up in several such roles. Some actors of course were typecast, but I don't think that's the case with Sidney. I don't know anything about her political beliefs, but it wouldn't surprise me if she wanted to appear in social commentary movies: she also appeared in Fury. And we know there were stars out there whose political views would draw them to such roles; I think John Garfield fits that description.

The other interesting (to me, at least) thing about the cast of Street Scene is the movie debut of John Qualen, who is credited here as "John M. Qualen", as if he needed to differentiate himself from all the other John Qualens playing ethnic characters in Hollywood. In Black Fury, which I recommended earlier this month, he's credited as "John T. Qualen". Go figure.

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