Side Streets (1934)
Bertha Krasnoff, better known as Madame Valerie to her customers, is a San Francisco based furrier. Her plain looks and attire belie the glamorous outward nature of the business, she making no real effort in improving her personal appearance. She is a shrewd businesswoman, locating her business on a lower rent side street, and knowing what her customers can and cannot afford to charge them the highest possible price. She meets Tim O’Hara, a sailor. What she doesn’t know about him is that he is unable to get a job on a ship due to his reputation as being unreliable. Bertha falls under his spell, first taking him in, then giving him a job despite he providing no real value to the business, and then marrying him. What she also learns shortly after their marriage is that he is a chronic philanderer. What she is also unaware of is that he is biding his time with her until he can get back to the sea. Their marriage goes through ups and downs, the changes sometimes based on the changing nature of their personal situation. Bertha has a forever changed perspective of Tim and their marriage when she meets one of Tim’s former lovers, Marguerite Gilbert, who has no idea that Bertha and Tim are married, and who does not know that Tim is still in San Francisco.