Vienna in the biggest depression, directly after WW1. In a slum, Lila Leid, the wife of lawyer Leid is murdered, Egon, secretary of one of Leid's clients is arrested. He was with her, and ... See full summary »
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Joe May's sensual drama of life in the Berlin underworld is in many ways the perfect summation of German filmmaking in the silent era: a dazzling visual style, a psychological approach to ... See full summary »
Presents two distinct plot lines until the two eventually merge: the first is that of the bored middle-aged man seeking a departure from monotony in his life; the second is that of the ... See full summary »
Asta Nielsen is, as you might expect, the best thing in this standard tragedy-of-a-prostitute movie -- there seems to have been a small genre of them, but the only one that is well remembered today is Pabst's JOYLESS STREET and that's only remembered because Garbo had a part in it. Nielsen was in it too.
Nielsen is an aging streetwalker who falls for a callow youngster, throws out her old boyfriend, Oscar Homolka, who proceeds to set a younger prostitute on the boytoy. Homolka looks and acts in a way that I could easily have confused him with Edward G. Robinson until the latter actor learned how to tone it down except for the big scenes about 1933.
I found this one so unengaging and predictable that I began to notice that the editor didn't even bother to match shots; check out the sequence where Nielsen and Homolka are holding a conversation while seated opposite each other at a table: in the shots framing Homolka, from over Nielsen's shoulder, he is looking at her, but in shots of Nielsen, from over Homolka's shoulder, he is looking down at the table. Very annoying.
Despite these problems, Nielsen manages to carry the picture through her fine acting. Look at her when she is sitting still, drowning in despair. Very real and telling.
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