Cast & Crew
Sidney Cohen, the Jewish owner of a delicatessen located in the tenement district, is a warm-hearted old bachelor who cares for everyone, especially Mildred Flannigan, a wheelchair-bound Irish Catholic child who lives upstairs. When Mildred's mother passes away, Sidney happily adopts the girl and soon fills her life with an abundance of love, Yiddish ballads and a determination to walk. Sidney's dearest hope is that someday Mildred's legs will be strong enough for her to walk, and she repays "Uncle" Sidney's devotion by worshipping him. Their lives are made complete by Tommy Burns, Mildred's young playmate, and his grandmother, who cooks their meals in exchange for desperately needed money. After learning that a great European surgeon who is about to visit the country is the only one who can assist Mildred, Sidney sells his deli for a fraction of its value to obtain the money for the doctor's fees. He returns to his former occupation as a street peddler in order to provide for Mildred, whose operation proves to be a failure. They remain hopeful, however, and for Sidney's sake Mildred continues her painful exercises. More misfortune strikes when a group of stern charity workers decide that Mildred would be better off in an orphanage. Despite the pleas of two of Sidney's friends, a priest and a rabbi, Mildred is taken to the institution, where she is desperately unhappy. Sidney also cannot bear the separation, and in order to see Mildred one last time, promises to make her hate him so that she will be content to stay at the orphanage. Sidney tells the child that he no longer loves her, and her pathetic tears break his heart. He then wanders in the street during a rainstorm and catches pneumonia. Without Mildred, Sidney feels he has no reason to live, and the priest, realizing that he is near death, retrieves the child from the orphanage. Mildred and Sidney experience a near miracle, as her presence gives him the will to recover, and her reborn faith and love for him allow her to walk. Mildred again comes to live with Sidney, and as she gradually improves, he builds business in a new deli.
Betty Jane Graham
Helen Jerome Eddy
According to Film Daily, the audience at a screening at the Roxy Theatre wept throughout the movie. The Motion Picture Herald review noted that an onscreen foreword espoused the cause of handicapped orphans. Columbia remade the picture as City Streets in 1938.