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The Joyless Street (1925)
"Die freudlose Gasse" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  5 July 1927 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 751 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 10 critic

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 »


(as G.W. Pabst)


(based on the novel by), (translator), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Joyless Street (1925)

The Joyless Street (1925) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Complete credited cast:
Asta Nielsen ...
Maria Lechner
Greta Rumfort
Agnes Esterhazy ...
Regina Rosenow
Werner Krauss ...
Metzger von Melchiorstrasse
Henry Stuart ...
Egon Stirner
Einar Hanson ...
Lt. Davis
Gregori Chmara ...
Karl Etlinger ...
Max Rosenow
Ilka Grüning ...
Frau Rosenow
Jaro Fürth ...
Hofrat Rumfort


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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Release Date:

5 July 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Joyless Street  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (1981 restored) | | (copy with English titles at Brussels Musée du Cinéma) | | |

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The dark-haired woman waiting in the butcher shop line who is often mistaken for Marlene Dietrich is actually Hertha von Walther. She had a much larger role in the original uncut version of the film. She can also be seen as the lab assistant in Geheimnisse einer Seele (1926) with Werner Krauss. See more »


Featured in Histoire(s) du cinéma: Les signes parmi nous (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

The street is indeed joyless
5 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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.

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