STREET ANGEL
starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell
PHOTOPLAY
April 1928

Continuing the adventures of those Babes in the Wood - Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. Thanks again to the sympathetic direction of Frank Borzage, here is a picture that is as human and as appealing as "Seventh Heaven." Miss Gaynor plays a little Italian circus performer whose innocence and poverty force her to attempt the last resources of desperate girls. How a tramp artist, played by Farrell, rescues her; how they are separated and reunited, forms the basis of a tear-wringing romance.

You'll like the simple, sincere playing of these two youngsters, the picturesque backgrounds and the fantasy-like treatment of the story. These two kids strike a fresh, new note on the screen. Natalie Kingston and Henry Armetta give good performances. Don't miss this one.


STREET ANGEL
starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell
MOTIION PICTURE MAGAZINE
July 1928

In this feeble echo of "Seventh Heaven," Charlie Farrell and Janet Gaynor do their stuff as only they can, and they'll probably have large and ecstatic audiences. But though they're simply grand (especially Charlie), and it's all very spiritual and romantic, you can't help thinking "what of it?" Because the story is frightfully silly, the painting on which it all hinges is excruciating, and Janet was never meant to be a peppery Italian girl with gestures. She is mistaken for a street-walker - can you imagine even a policeman making that mistake? - and has to flee from the law. She meets Charlie and they set up housekeeping in the inevitable attic, and all is well until Janet is seen by a horrid policeman with a good memory for faces. Then comes the agony. The main trouble is that the picture, while as tender and idyllic as possible, is utterly unreal. But you will undoubtedly love it in spite of everything.


STREET ANGEL
starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell
PICTURE PLAY MAGAZINE
July 1928

Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, who may almost be said to have revived one's faith in love in "Seventh Heaven," appear again in roles almost similar. The picture is "Street Angel," and it was directed by Frank Borzage, whose delicate sentiment had much to do with making the first-named picture the sensational success it was. Yet, in spite of their combined efforts, "Street Angel" is not its equal. You might just as well know the worst right away, for that is the question you are reading this review to find out.

Exquisite , frail, seen through a mist of illusion, "Street Angel" lacks vitality and those flashes of inspiration expected of the gifted trio. Miss Gaynor, nevertheless, gives a superb performance as Angela, the little Italian girl who, in escaping the police, stumbles into a circus and falls in love with an itinerant painter in the person of Mr. Farrell, whose Gino is no less finely played. They leave for Naples where Gino expects to marry Angela as soon as he gets an order for a painting. There they live for a long time, much as they did in"Seventh Heaven," until he gets his commission and returns to the garret with a great basket of provision and the joyful news that they will wed in the morning. But Angela has been recognized by a police sergeant, and is given one hour with Gino before being taken into custody. So she makes merry with a breaking heart, and finally steals out to disappear with her captor. Gino loses heart in his work, and roams the streets in search of his lost sweetheart. Eventually he is led by a girl to the wharves where he comes upon the released Angela and tries to kill her for having deceived him. His pursuit leads him into a church, where over the altar hangs a portrait of the Virgin painted by Gino, with Angela as his model. This - and the look in Angela's eyes - bring him to reason.

There you have the story - tenuous, incredible, ready to be blown away by the first breath of logic, and slow, very slow, in the telling. But - as pointed out before - it is rich in optical beauty. There is also beauty in the contemplation of Miss Gaynor's small self, and a wondering smile at her transformation into an Italian, apparently by no more obvious means than inserting tiny gold hoops in the lobes of her almost as tiny ears. On sober reflection, you conclude that she must also feel like an Italian peasant to make you believe she is one.


Video source: Critic's Choice

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