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 »
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 had her necklace, because he needed some money for his own stock exchange deals. The same deal brings poverty to ex-government official Rumfort, his daughter Greta, who also has lost her job, tries to get some money to get food. She rents a room of the flat she, her young sister and her father are living in to an American Red Cross official, who pays $60 rent, but the money is taken by some of her father's creditors. But their neighbour, shop owner Mrs Greifer knows how to "help", she and Mrs. Merkel are running a nightclub with a brothel... Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
I saw what appeared to be sourced from a UK reissue print of this film that only ran about an hour. I could tell, however, from what what not edited out of this print in order to emphasise the presence of Greta Garbo that it could not have been lightly that the decision was taken to distribute this film as "Joyless Street." It's relentlessly a relentlessly dispiriting tale of the poorer class being driven to misery, suffering, and humiliation at the whims of the rich. A theme like that can easily have a lot of political resonances, but "Joyless Street" prefers to take a more microcosmic tack and focus on the sorrows of one family and the events that lead to them.
It's a very well-made film; the filming, as might be expected, is highly atmospheric, and certain shots -- especially the roving camera down the line outside the butcher's -- are exquisite. It can't be said that Greta Garbo doesn't deserve the attention lavished on her by this edited print; she is absolutely magnetic. I haven't seen many with her kind of presence.
The addition of a serendipitous love story involving an American somehow doesn't cheer the film up significantly and seems a bit jarring and contrived.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?