Buster Keaton once described his 1931 vehicle Sidewalks of New York as "God-awful"; it's hardly that bad, though admittedly it pales in comparison with his silent classics. Keaton plays Harmon, a wealthy young Park Avenue socialite who falls in love with Lower East Side denizen Margie (Anita Page). For her sake, he tries to reform a tough gang of kids (including Margie's brother) by building a gym to keep them off the streets. A bunch of gangsters, mistakenly believing that Harmon intends to turn them over to the authorities, try to bump him off, but he's oblivious to their homicidal overtures, believing them to be his best pals. Ultimately, Margie's brother and his gang are obliged to come to Harmon's rescue. The film's highlight is a boxing match, pitting puny Harmon against the toughest lug in all New York. Though Buster Keaton was unable to get along with his director Jules White, it was ironically White who helped Keaton stage a comeback in the late 1930s by casting the comedian in a series of mediocre but profitable Columbia two-reelers.
~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide