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>
You really can't compare many of the full-length films of the 20s to today's films. This isn't just because they were silent films but because the styles were so different. Compared to a modern film, this early Greta Garbo film is way too rushed--being completed in only 61 minutes when it would have been drawn out to at least 90 minutes or more today to tell the same story. However, one thing isn't so different between this film and today's--the acting and movie itself is amazingly subtle and restrained for the 20s. Most dramas from that era, frankly, try too hard and lack subtlety--but not this one. Even seen today, it's still a pretty good film. And, compared to the rather gaunt and extremely manicured and coiffed Garbo of the late 20s and 30s, she is quite beautiful and real--I really wish Hollywood had kept her that way.
The story itself reminds me of THE LAST LAUGH, another German film made at about the same time. Both focus on the struggle of the common people in the German-speaking world following WWI--as there is great poverty and disparity between the HAVES and HAVE NOTS. Both films are meant as social criticism and agents of change. And, both are amazingly well-done (though a better film, THE LAST LAUGH does have a rather poor ending), so my advice is see both.
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