Joe May's sensual drama of life in the Berlin underworld is in many ways the perfect summation of German filmmaking in the silent era: a dazzling visual style, a psychological approach to ... See full summary »
Flashback story of an escape from the lonely, high-security Dartmoor Prison. A jealous barber's assistant is enraged by the attentions that his manicurist girlfriend pays to a customer. He ... See full summary »
Hans Adalbert Schlettow,
Thymiane is a beautiful young girl who is not having a storybook life. Her governess, Elizabeth, is thrown out of her home when she is pregnant, only to be later found drown. That same day,... See full summary »
Marie wants to escape from her job and also from her lover, Paul, an unemployed drunk. She dreams of going off with Jean, a dockworker. The two men quarrel and fight over Marie on two ... See full summary »
The owner of a Waxmuseum needs for three of his models stories to be told to the audience. For that reason he has hired a writer, who after one look athe owner's pretty daughter, starts ... See full summary »
Claire Lescot is a famous prima donna. All men want to be loved by her. Among them is the young scientist Einar Norsen. When she mocks at him, he leaves her house with the declared ... See full summary »
Léonid Walter de Malte,
During a dinner, given by a wealthy baron and his wive, attended by four of her suitors in a 19th century German manor, a shadow-player rescues the marriage by giving all the guests a ... See full summary »
In the castle Vogeloed, a few aristocrats are awaiting baroness Safferstätt. But first count Oetsch invites himself.. Everyone thinks he murdered his brother, baroness Safferstat's first ... See full summary »
Joe May's sensual drama of life in the Berlin underworld is in many ways the perfect summation of German filmmaking in the silent era: a dazzling visual style, a psychological approach to its characters, and the ability to take a simple and essentially melodramatic story and turn it into something more complex and inherently cinematic. Written by
It's a good film all around, but it's most notable for finding yet another remarkable silent beauty queen, Betty Amann, who could perhaps have been a huge star if the era had continued. With her jet-black bob-cut, she'll remind many of Louise Brooks, but, aside from a similar hairdo, she's not much like Brooks. The story concerns a cop (Metropolis' Gustav Froehlich) who picks up Amann for stealing a diamond from a jewelry store. She tries to seduce him so he'll let her go, but he's so morally upright she basically has to jump on top of him to get what she wants. Froehlich walks away from the situation bewildered, but also kind of in love with her. She, too, develops feelings for the poor little innocent, but odds are against them. Especially when her gangster boyfriend shows back up. I wouldn't quite group this among the silent masterpieces, but it's a fine film. And Amann really is wonderful (she would go on to co-star in Hitchcock's The Rich and the Strange, and she also pops up in Nancy Drew... Reporter). I think it might be a bit better known if not for the lousy title. "Asphalt" only really refers to Froehlich's job as a traffic cop, but I don't see what else it has to do with the film.
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