The Big Street (1942)

Passed   |    |  Drama, Music, Romance


The Big Street (1942) Poster

Little Pinks is in love with a nightclub singer named Gloria. But it is a unrequited love as she does not know that he exists. Pinks is a shy busboy and Gloria only goes out with men who ... See full summary »


6.5/10
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  • Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball in The Big Street (1942)
  • Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball in The Big Street (1942)
  • Lucille Ball in The Big Street (1942)
  • Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball in The Big Street (1942)
  • Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball in The Big Street (1942)
  • Henry Fonda, Lucille Ball, and Sam Levene in The Big Street (1942)

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21 September 2009 | secondtake
8
| Packed with great actors, major and minor, in a fast fast whirlwind
The Big Street (1942)

Packed with great actors, major and minor, in a fast fast whirlwind

First of all, Agnes Moorehead and Ray Collins played the previous year in another raging movie of some fame (Citizen Kane, yup), and here they are loaded up against a dozen other great character actors, plus a couple big names. Headlining is the well known Henry Fonda, still young, but fresh off of a couple great films, Grapes of Wrath (1940), and The Young Mr. Lincoln (1939). But in a kind of startling role for those who know Lucille Ball as a brilliant and goofy t.v. comedian a decade later, we have her here as a big-eyed femme fatale, or would-be femme fatale until fate takes a turn.

You might think this one is a screwball comedy the way it starts, but keep watching-- there is violence and trauma soon enough, and the movie takes a turn that Fonda is worthy of. There is a Frank Capra feel-good element amidst the hardship, but it is full of verve, and all these odd characters who really are (were and are) what New York is at its best. The director Irving Reis (with photographer Russell Metty) keeps the scenes snappy, and sometimes moves from a closeup of a face to a background quickly, to let a character make a dramatic point. There are lots of movie tricks, quick fades from scene to scene to show the passing of time, and some tacky back projection, and it really goes along with the fairy tale narrative.

And there really is an unbelievable ending, which you have to take with the whole flavor of the movie, a kind of sincerity/fantasy mixture.

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