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The Docks of New York (1928)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  29 September 1928 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,405 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 37 critic

A blue-collar worker on New York's depressed waterfront finds his life changed after he saves a woman attempting suicide.

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(story), (titles), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Docks of New York (1928)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
George Bancroft ...
...
Mae
...
His Wife - Lou (as Baclanova)
Clyde Cook ...
Mitchell Lewis ...
Andy, the Third Engineer
Gustav von Seyffertitz ...
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Storyline

The ship on which Bill Roberts is a stoker has just put into port, giving the crew one night ashore. The ship's bad-tempered third engineer orders the stokers to clean up, while the engineer heads for a dockside bar, where he has a confrontation with the wife he had abandoned. Then, as Bill himself goes ashore, he sees a young woman attempt to drown herself. Bill dives in, saves her, and then, assisted by the engineer's wife, sees that she is cared for. Bill and the rescued woman begin to enjoy one another's company, but they must contend with the malice of the engineer, as well as a number of other complications. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 September 1928 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Docks von New-York  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Donald Sosin composed his score in 2008 for the Ritorato Festival in Bologna with vocals composed and sung by Joanns Seaton. The 2010 score by Robert Israel includes such vintage songs as "East Side, West Side," "Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage," "Bicycle Built for Two," "Strawberry Blonde, and "After the Ball Is Over". See more »

Quotes

Intertitle: [Opening lines. Intertitle] The Waterfront of New York - The end of many journeys, the beginning of many adventures.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
A masterpiece
3 January 2005 | by (Copenhagen, Denmark) – See all my reviews

Of course, no waterfront in the world was ever as deliciously seedy as set designer Hans Dreier's in this amazingly atmospheric and evocative masterpiece of late silent cinema. The story is rather tawdry, cheapish even, but plots are very rarely the point of a movie anyway, and Josef von Sternberg has made the perfect film out of next to nothing.

'The Docks of New York' is about a rough and ready stoker, Bill (George Bancroft), on leave for the night. He goes to the Sandbar and gets into a brawl with Hymn-Book Harry (the ever sleazy Gustav von Seyffertitz), and on the way back saves a young girl, Mae the tough kookie (Betty Compson) from drowning herself. Slowly they sorta kinda fall in love and he marries her on the spur of the moment, but what will they do the next morning when Bill is supposed to sail off again? The most astonishing thing about 'The Docks of New York' is its subtlety. We have no heroes or simplified villains here, just people who have had a hard time all their lives and are reluctant to be redeemed. The concept of love in this sneering, loud-mouthed environment is completely alien. "I hope you have better luck than me", says Olga Baclanova's character to Mae on her way to the slammer, "but I doubt it". It is Baclanova who says on the subject of decency that she was decent "before I got married".

It goes without saying that the film is acted as naturalistically as anything we see today, that Compson & Bancroft absolutely shine as the unlikely lovers, grittily played and with no sentimentality. The lighting is superb, photography stupendous, direction acute, and the edition you are most likely to see looks fabulous.


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