Street Corner


1h 2m 1948

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1948
Premiere Information
New York opening: 3 Dec 1948
Production Company
Wilshire Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
State Rights
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 2m
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

In a courtroom, seventeen-year-old Lois Marsh gives evidence during the trial of a woman who performed an abortion on her. After the judge sentences the woman to ten years in the state prison, the maximum term prescribed by law, Lois' family doctor, James Fenton, talks directly to the theater audience about the case: Lois is the only child of Arnold and Clara Marsh, who reside in an ordinary small town, in which Arnold is a successful architect. College-bound and clean-cut, nineteen-year-old Bob Mason is Lois' steady boyfriend. One evening, as the young couple leaves to attend a party at the country club, Dr. Fenton arrives to spend an evening playing cards with Lois' parents. Despite his many years of practice, Dr. Fenton is progressive and never misses an opportunity to stress the need for young people to have adequate instruction in sex education and family relationships. However, his efforts to have Clara give Lois appropriate information have fallen on deaf ears, as both parents believe that Lois is only a child. Fenton recommends that Clara bring Lois to a "for women only" lecture he is to give at the local hospital. During the party, Lois and Bob decide to leave the country club for a drive. Seated on the grass beside a lake, they talk about their love for each other and their future plans. Before either is totally aware of it, their emotions overpower them and they make love. Later, Lois tells her friend, Irene Danby, that she and Bob have become engaged, but asks her not to mention it to anyone. On their way home from the party, Lois, Bob, Irene and her boyfriend, Hal Boone, stop at a soda fountain run by Kitty Mae, a warmhearted woman in her late thirties. Later, after Bob leaves for college, two hundred miles away, Lois discovers that she is pregnant and summons sufficient courage to approach her mother, who is only concerned about her own frivolous social life and rebuffs her. Lois then asks Irene, whose sister married recently, for details about the legal requirements for marriage and learns that she must be eighteen years old or have her parents' consent. Several weeks pass before Lois phones Bob and tells him about her condition. He reassures her and promises to drive back immediately and marry her. Lois goes to the soda fountain to wait for Bob, but while there hears a radio news bulletin that Bob has been killed in an automobile accident. After Lois tells Kitty Mae about her condition, Kitty Mae advises her against telling her parents and later, unwillingly, gives her an address where she can be "taken care of" and provides the necessary cash. Lois goes to the address, which is located in a poor section of town, and meets a sinister, forbidding woman who performs a hasty, crude abortion. Lois is allowed to rest for little more than an hour, then told to leave and say nothing about what has transpired. In pain, and suffering from shock and loss of blood, Lois collapses in the street and is taken to Dr. Fenton's office where, semi-conscious, she manages to tell him what has happened. Dr. Fenton rushes her to the hospital and arranges for emergency treatment, then notifies Arnold and Clara, telling them that their parental negligence is largely responsible for the fact that their daughter's life is hanging in the balance. Fenton then proceeds to the hospital auditorium to give his weekly lecture on family relations, during which he shows medical films on natural and Caesarean childbirth and one on sexually acquired diseases. Reinforced by his involvement in Lois' case, Fenton again stresses the need for clinical instruction to combat the whispered "legends" of street corners and alleys. Later, as Lois recovers, she and her parents reconcile. Back in his office, following the trial, Fenton reflects on the tragic aspects of Lois' case and the waste and suffering caused by ignorance.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1948
Premiere Information
New York opening: 3 Dec 1948
Production Company
Wilshire Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
State Rights
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 2m
Film Length
7 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The print viewed was from a 1951 reissue, which did not include the original black and white segment on venereal disease, but instead included color footage of a natural birth. According to a Los Angeles Examiner ad for the film on February 26, 1951, the re-issue played to sexually segregated audiences. The ad included the statement "Nurses in attendance all shows." The re-issued film also featured an intermission during which a "hygienist," billed as "Curtis Hayes," pitched booklets on sex education. For information on similarly themed films, see the entries above for Mom and Dad, The Story of Bob and Sally and The Story of Life. In an article in the April 1948 American Cinematographer, cinematographer Virgil Miller stated that Street Corner was shot in seven days. Joseph Crehan, who plays "Dr. Fenton," played a similar role in The Story of Life (see below entry).