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Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
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This German film from director Fritz Lang was lost for many decades before a print finally showed up in Brazil. Running a very short 55-minutes, the film tells the story of a woman (Carola Toelle) who was found by her husband tied up on their wedding night. It looked like a thief did it but years later a blackmailer comes forward with the truth so the husband plants a trap to try and find out if his wife has been seeing another man. This early Lang film has a lot of the director's touches but in the end it's just way too confusing and rather bloating to be very entertaining. I think those interested in Lang's career might want to check it out for curiosity sake but all others would probably be best to avoid it. The film opens up with a magnificent shot of a camera zooming in and then doing a circle around a table that really sets up the action that is about to follow. The beautiful shot certain contains that German Expressionism that is so loved in this era. Lang also does a very good job building up the dark, dirty streets where a lot of the crime takes place. As you'd expect, Lang uses dark alleys, dark corners and various shots of shadows to build up this atmosphere and the cinematography perfectly captures all of this. Toelle is very good in the role of the wife as she has no problem giving various emotions and getting them to come across on screen. Fans of Lang will also notice actor Rudolf Klein-Rogge in a small bit here. One could also make the case that his character here might have been an influence on the Mabuse character that he would play for Lang the next year. The rest of the supporting performances are pretty good if no one else really stands out. I think the biggest problem is that there's very little story actually going on and it gets expanded to the point where you feel as if you're just going in circles. At times it's rather confusing to know what's going on but I'm not sure if part of this film is still lost or not. Considering how long most of Lang's films were around this time I have a somewhat hard time believing that 55-minutes is all there is. With that said, it's better to have this print than nothing at all but I think most non-Lang fans will be hitting the stop button long before the finale.
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