Quality Street (1937)

80 or 84-85 mins | Comedy-drama | 26 March 1937

Director:

George Stevens

Cinematographer:

Robert de Grasse

Editor:

Henry Berman

Production Designer:

Van Nest Polglase

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Sir James M. Barrie's "Phoebe Throssel" was first performed by Maude Adams, who also played the character in a 1932 radio version of the play. According to a Jul 1934 HR news item, M-G-M hired Rowland Lee to work on an adaptation of Barrie's play for that studio. However, HR reported in Dec 1934 that RKO had purchased the rights to the play as a vehicle for Katharine Hepburn. (RKO's version of Barrie's The Little Minister , which also starred Hepburn, opened shortly after this purchase.) Modern sources state that Hepburn cajoled George Stevens, who had directed her in Alice Adams , into working with her on this film, even though he had been slated by RKO to direct Winterset , a story he especially wanted to make. An Aug 1936 LAEx news item states that producer Pandro Berman had negotiated for Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., who was working in England at the time, to co-star with Hepburn. RKO borrowed Franchot Tone from M-G-M for the production, which was Joan Fontaine's first film for the studio and the first film in which she appeared as Joan Fontaine. (Her previous stage name was Joan Burfield.)
       Although George D. Ellis received screen credit as the film's sound recorder, RKO production files indicate that Clem Portman worked on the film during its first two weeks of production. Exteriors were shot at the Triumpho Canyon and Malibu Lake areas of Malibu, CA. A Feb 1937 HR news item notes that RKO chose to delay the opening of the picture several months in order to capitalize on ... More Less

Sir James M. Barrie's "Phoebe Throssel" was first performed by Maude Adams, who also played the character in a 1932 radio version of the play. According to a Jul 1934 HR news item, M-G-M hired Rowland Lee to work on an adaptation of Barrie's play for that studio. However, HR reported in Dec 1934 that RKO had purchased the rights to the play as a vehicle for Katharine Hepburn. (RKO's version of Barrie's The Little Minister , which also starred Hepburn, opened shortly after this purchase.) Modern sources state that Hepburn cajoled George Stevens, who had directed her in Alice Adams , into working with her on this film, even though he had been slated by RKO to direct Winterset , a story he especially wanted to make. An Aug 1936 LAEx news item states that producer Pandro Berman had negotiated for Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., who was working in England at the time, to co-star with Hepburn. RKO borrowed Franchot Tone from M-G-M for the production, which was Joan Fontaine's first film for the studio and the first film in which she appeared as Joan Fontaine. (Her previous stage name was Joan Burfield.)
       Although George D. Ellis received screen credit as the film's sound recorder, RKO production files indicate that Clem Portman worked on the film during its first two weeks of production. Exteriors were shot at the Triumpho Canyon and Malibu Lake areas of Malibu, CA. A Feb 1937 HR news item notes that RKO chose to delay the opening of the picture several months in order to capitalize on Hepburn's theatrical tour of Jane Eyre .
       Roy Webb was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Score but lost to Charles Previn for One Hundred Men and a Girl . According to modern sources, the film, which was Hepburn's third consecutive costume drama, lost $248,000 at the box office. Modern sources credit Mel Berns with the picture's makeup and add Carmencita Johnson ( Student ) to the cast. In 1927, M-G-M distributed a version of Barrie's play, which starred Marion Davies and Conrad Nagel and was directed by Sidney Franklin (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.4384). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
6 Mar 37
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 Mar 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 34
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 36
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Oct 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 36
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Nov 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Feb 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 37
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
18 Aug 1936.
---
Motion Picture Herald
17 Oct 36
p. 40.
Motion Picture Herald
20 Mar 37
p. 49, 52
New York Times
9 Apr 37
p. 19.
Variety
14 Apr 37
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Pandro S. Berman Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITERS
Contr to dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir and set dressing
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dresser
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
Orch arr
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Tech adv on courtroom and royalty scenes
STAND INS
Stand-in for Katherine Hepburn
Stand-in for Franchot Tone
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Quality Street by James M. Barrie (New York, 11 Nov 1901).
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 March 1937
Production Date:
25 September--24 November 1936
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
26 March 1937
Copyright Number:
LP7030
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80 or 84-85
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
2722
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In England, at the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars, the vivacious twenty-year-old Phoebe Throssel eagerly awaits the proposal of her longtime admirer, Dr. Valentine Brown. Consequently, when the gentlemanly Valentine says that he has enlisted in the British army because he has no "wife, mother, or sweetheart," Phoebe and her spinster sister Susan are crushed with disappointment. Ten years later, Phoebe and Susan, who are now teachers in the Misses Throssel School for Boys and Girls, have their drab, "old maid" existence on Quality Street disrupted by the return of Valentine's troops. As soon as Valentine arrives, he calls on Phoebe to invite her to the homecoming ball, but is shocked by her tired, lackluster appearance. Humiliated by his revulsion, Phoebe sheds her unflattering clothes, styles her hair in ringlets and dresses up in a stunning gown. To Phoebe's surprise, when Valentine shows up to take her to the ball, he fails to recognize her and is convinced that she is a guest in the house. Phoebe, taking advantage of Valentine's confusion, tells him that she is Livvy Throssel, Phoebe's "niece," and accepts his invitation to the ball. There, "Livvy" attracts a crowd of young male admirers, whom she teases coquettishly, much to Valentine's dismay. After the ball, Phoebe continues her flirtatious impersonation of Livvy and causes her snooping neighbors, spinsters Henrietta Turnbull and Mary and Fanny Willoughby, to grow increasingly suspicious of her. At a second homecoming ball, Valentine scolds "Livvy" and tells her that it is Phoebe, not she, whom he loves. Although eager to return Valentine's love, Phoebe is unable to "bury" her alter ego because her neighbors ... +


In England, at the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars, the vivacious twenty-year-old Phoebe Throssel eagerly awaits the proposal of her longtime admirer, Dr. Valentine Brown. Consequently, when the gentlemanly Valentine says that he has enlisted in the British army because he has no "wife, mother, or sweetheart," Phoebe and her spinster sister Susan are crushed with disappointment. Ten years later, Phoebe and Susan, who are now teachers in the Misses Throssel School for Boys and Girls, have their drab, "old maid" existence on Quality Street disrupted by the return of Valentine's troops. As soon as Valentine arrives, he calls on Phoebe to invite her to the homecoming ball, but is shocked by her tired, lackluster appearance. Humiliated by his revulsion, Phoebe sheds her unflattering clothes, styles her hair in ringlets and dresses up in a stunning gown. To Phoebe's surprise, when Valentine shows up to take her to the ball, he fails to recognize her and is convinced that she is a guest in the house. Phoebe, taking advantage of Valentine's confusion, tells him that she is Livvy Throssel, Phoebe's "niece," and accepts his invitation to the ball. There, "Livvy" attracts a crowd of young male admirers, whom she teases coquettishly, much to Valentine's dismay. After the ball, Phoebe continues her flirtatious impersonation of Livvy and causes her snooping neighbors, spinsters Henrietta Turnbull and Mary and Fanny Willoughby, to grow increasingly suspicious of her. At a second homecoming ball, Valentine scolds "Livvy" and tells her that it is Phoebe, not she, whom he loves. Although eager to return Valentine's love, Phoebe is unable to "bury" her alter ego because her neighbors insist on seeing "Livvy" in the flesh. In the end, Valentine discovers Phoebe's ruse and, with the help of a disguise, officially sends the niece away before the spinsters can uncover the deception. After a heartfelt kiss, Valentine proposes to the faithful Phoebe. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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