Dream Street (film)

Dream Street is a 1921 American silent romantic drama film directed by D. W. Griffith, and starring Carol Dempster, Charles Emmett Mack, and Ralph Graves in a story about a love triangle set in London, and based on two short stories by Thomas Burke, "Gina of Chinatown" and "Song of the Lamp". The cast also features Tyrone Power, Sr.

Dream Street
Directed byD. W. Griffith
Written byRoy Sinclair
Based on"Gina of Chinatown" and "Song of the Lamp"
by Thomas Burke
StarringCarol Dempster
Charles Emmett Mack
Ralph Graves
Tyrone Power, Sr.
Narrated byD. W. Griffith
Music byLouis Silvers
Irving Berlin
CinematographyHenrik Sartov
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • April 12, 1921 (1921-04-12)
Running time
135 minutes
CountryUnited States
(with sound sequences)
English intertitles

The film, released by United Artists, was poorly received in its day and critics still consider it one of Griffith's worst films.



The original 1921 version of Dream Street is notable for a brief sequence when Griffith steps out in front of a curtain at the beginning of the movie and talks to the audience about the film, using Photokinema, an early sound-on-disc process developed by Orlando Kellum. Some films made in the Photokinema process, including Griffith's Dream Street introduction at the beginning, are preserved at the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

The silent version premiered on April 12, 1921 at the Central Theatre in New York City. On April 27, Griffith and Ralph Graves recorded their respective sound segments at Orlando Kellum's Photokinema office at 203 West 40th Street.[1][2]

The premiere engagement of the sound version of Dream Street took place on May 2, 1921 at Town Hall in New York City with Griffith's introduction. On May 15, the film reopened, now also with two other short sound sequences — Ralph Graves singing, and background noise in a scene showing a craps game. No other theaters could show the sound version of the film, since no other theaters had the Photokinema sound system installed.[3]

On Sunday, May 29, Dream Street opened at the Schubert-Crescent Theater in Brooklyn with a program of short films made in Phonokinema. However, business was poor, and the program soon closed.


In Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, he described it as "disappointing", owing to Dempster and her performance.[4]


  1. Barrios, Richard (13 July 1995). A Song in the Dark. Oxford University Press. p. 15. ISBN 9780195088113.
  2. "Griffith to Present Sound Film at Town Hall Tomorrow", The New York Times (May 1, 1921), Drama and Music section, p. 78
  3. Scott Eyman, The Speed of Sound (1997), page 43
  4. TCM entry for film
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