Of a dramatic texture which never was too strong even in the theatre, Quality Street is a theatrical memory involving Maude Adams in a J.M. Barrie piece. It was not rated among her best. Incredibly romantic and farcical, the idea of a 30-year-old woman deceiving her sweetheart into believing she is her own niece of 16 was tough going for the horse-and-buggy patrons of 1901.
It is a film full of effort. The settings are of a charming London residential spot, the gardens are charmingly arranged, and the costumes are charming beyond description. The dialog tries to be charming, too. The men in the cast, headed by Franchot Tone, are soldiers in England’s army which smashed Napoleon. They’re not so charming as quaint. Napoleon must have been a pushover and history is all wrong.
Working from a script possessing neither imagination nor ingenuity, George Stevens is limited in his direction.
1937: Nomination: Best Score