Street Angel. 1928. USA. Directed by Frank Borzage. With Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Natalie Kingston. 102 min.
After the phenomenal success of 7th Heaven, Fox reunited director Frank Borzage with stars Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell for this 1928 follow-up, which fully equals its predecessor in its intensity of feeling and spiritual mise-en-scène. Gaynor won the first Academy Award for Best Actress (which included her work in 7th Heaven and Sunrise) for her portrayal of Angela, a girl of the Neapolitain streets who becomes the model for a portrait painted by struggling artist Farrell; fate forces them apart when Janet is sent to prison, but reunites them when, upon her release, she finds her portrait hanging in a church, reframed as a Madonna. Once again, Borzage conflates the romantic and the religious to devastating effect. A great film, now restored to its full glory. New 4K restoration from nitrate elements held by MoMA, funded by Twentieth Century Fox