“Street Angel” is a great example of the power of silence and visual art. This movie is actually one of the last Hollywood silent films, produced by Fox company. Directed by Frank Borzage, having Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell in leading roles, this fantastic melodrama stands out through its transcendent images which are beautifully emphasized by lights and shadows, movements and different angles of shooting, motives and strong externalized emotions.
“Street Angel” is a story about a young girl Angela who trying to save her mother’s life decides to turn to street in order to gain money. Things got complicated and she is sentenced to prison. Shortly after the trial she succeeds to escape, but finding that her mother already passed away she ends up in a small circus. Angela, who meanwhile became cold and determined to shut off all her emotions, finds herself to fall in love with a young painter Gino. From this moment starts their struggle to keep this love alive into a cruel world full of envy, hatred, malice and injustice.
The juxtaposition of these two innocent souls and the whole hostile world created by Borzage, makes the movie even more dramatic and powerful. Everybody who is watching this movie finds himself caught in the action and touched by the abundance of sincerity and innocence these two actors managed to communicate.
Borzage relies on thin plots and strong, sincere emotions which are amplified by closeup shots with a special accent on character’s eyes staring up or down. Since eyes are the mirror of souls, this shots have to role to break down any wall of doubt about the authenticity of feelings exposing thus the vulnerability and pure honesty.
There in no word in this film, but in the same time it speaks so much that at the end you get the impression of a such amazing script.