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>
Memorable Performance By Garbo, Interesting Expressionist Atmosphere
The interesting expressionist atmosphere and, most of all, a memorable performance by Greta Garbo (does she give any other kind?) both make "The Joyless Street" worthwhile. G.W. Pabst's style also makes a good combination with the setting in post-World War I Vienna. The supporting cast is also good, and all of this makes up for the lack of a first-class story.
Garbo is well-cast as the daughter who is the only real hope of an impoverished family trying to survive in a cold, unforgiving postwar city that is ruled by a handful of predatory exploiters. Just her eyes alone communicate volumes, and her character transcends the rest of the material. Pabst wisely included plenty of close-ups of Garbo, and these leave a lasting impression of her character's weary perseverance and strength of character.
Several of the other characters also have interesting stories of their own. There seem to be a number of different versions of the feature, with widely varying lengths, and thus with the story differently edited, so that some versions will work better than others. But regardless of the story, the setting is effectively rendered, and Garbo's performance stands out.
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