Street Scene

During a hot summer in New York, the stoop and the sidewalk in front of a tenement becomes the stage for the building’s residents. The women gather to gossip, joined by the men returning home from work. Political opinions are exchanged and anti-Semitic sentiments rise to the surface. Two couples emerge from the polyphony – Anna Maurrant is an attractive woman married to the somewhat brutish Frank, and their daughter Rose and her shy secret admirer Sam. Rose’s boss is sexually harassing her, mother Anna is sleeping with the milkman. When her husband discovers them, tragedy unfolds … The film’s set encompassed an entire street including an El station, and King Vidor used a constantly moving camera to compose a metropolitan symphony of the spoken word. The director worked with composer Alfred Newman to plan the music cues, which punctuate and enhance the dialogue. In 1953, Vidor said of the collaboration, “Because Newman spent much time on the set during the making of the film, he could intersperse the dialogue with musical phraseology that had the effect of intensifying each line. In some climaxes the music would almost echo the actor’s voice”.
by King Vidor
with Sylvia Sidney, William Collier Jr., Estelle Taylor, Beulah Bondi, David Landau, Matt McHugh, Russell Hopton, Greta Granstedt, Eleanor Wesselhoeft, Allen Fox, John Qualen
USA 1931 English 80’ Black/White


  • Sylvia Sidney
  • William Collier Jr.
  • Estelle Taylor
  • Beulah Bondi
  • David Landau
  • Matt McHugh
  • Russell Hopton
  • Greta Granstedt
  • Eleanor Wesselhoeft
  • Allen Fox
  • John Qualen


Director King Vidor
Screenplay Elmer Rice
Story Elmer Rice Street Scene (1929)
Cinematography George Barnes
Editing Hugh Bennett
Music Alfred Newman
Sound Charles Noyes
Art Director Richard Day
Assistant Director H. Bruce Humberstone
Producer Samuel Goldwyn

Produced by

Feature Productions, Inc.

Additional information

Print: 35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, Santa Clarita, CA. Funding provided by the AFI/NEA.

King Vidor

Filmography (selection)

1919 The Turn in the Road; Lost film 1925 The Big Parade (Die große Parade) 1928 The Crowd (Ein Mensch der Masse) 1929 Hallelujah 1934 Our Daily Bread (Der letzte Alarm) 1938 The Citadel 1940 Northwest Passage (Nordwest-Passage) 1947 Duel in the Sun (Duell in der Sonne) 1949 The Fountainhead (Ein Mann wie Sprengstoff) 1956 War and Peace (Krieg und Frieden) 1959 Solomon and Sheba (Salomon und die Königin von Saba)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020