Back Street (1941): Second, Oscar Nominated Version of Melodrama, Starring Margaret Sullavan and Charles Boyer

Made in 1941, the second–and best–version of Fannie Hurst’s best-selling novel is a tastefully restrained, extremely well-acted melodrama by Charles Boyer and Margaret Sullavan, then at the peak of their respective careers.

Directed by Robert Stevenson, and adapted to the big screen by Bruce Manning and Felix Jackson, it tells the story of Ray Smith (Sullavan), a woman who remains committed to her lover, the married Walter Saxel (Boyer), who can’t get a divorce or else it would ruin his career.

Hurst’s potboiler had been filmed before, in 1932, with Irene Dunne and John Boles in the leads, and later, in 1961, with Susan Hayward and John Gavin. The 1961 version was Oscar-nominated for Jean Louis’ costume design

Oscar Nominations: 1

Score (Drama): Frank Skinner

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner was Bernard Herrmann for “All That Money Can Buy.”