Street of Sin was the final American film of Scandinavian director Mauritz Stiller, whose inability to adapt to Hollywood (and vice versa) forced him to return to Sweden where he died, dispirited and disillusioned, not long after the release of this film. The story is set in the seamy Soho section of London, where burglar Basher Bill (Emil Jannings) shares bed and board with his sluttish girlfriend Annie (Olga Baclanova). As wicked as they come, Bill softens when he meets virtuous Salvation Army lass Elizabeth (Fay Wray). He helps her take care of a group of orphans, abandoned in the Army's care. The jealous Annie, assuming (correctly) that her boyfriend's interest in Elizabeth goes far beyond sympathy, betrays Bill to the cops. Mortally wounded in the climactic gun battle, Bill holds no grudge against Annie: in fact, as he breathes his last, he advises her to save her soul by joining the Salvation Army -- which she does! Since the film no longer exists, it is hard to tell whether Street of Sin was truly worthy of Stiller's talents; chances are, however, that Paramount heavily tampered with the film before its release.
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