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 »
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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
Outstanding German silent era crime drama; an early film noir about a young traffic officer who gets involved with a femme fatale he has just arrested for stealing a diamond from a jeweler's shop. This spit-curled, dark-haired beauty attempts to use tears, tricks, Cognac, a pillow-laden couch proportioned like a king-sized bed, and finally a black-laced bodysuit/nightie to seduce our officer into letting her off. These two soon become emotionally involved with each other, but the officer is feeling guilt over shirking his duty to arrest her.
The photography in this film is really excellent - the film as a whole is very visual, with lots of facial close-ups, softly filtered lighting along with shadowy rooms and hallways, and an interesting montage at the beginning of the asphalt streets of Berlin and it's fast moving crowds of people and traffic, all shown with interesting overlapped and angled photography. The actors all give excellent, emotional performances. The actress, Betty Amann, who portrays the thief is especially good here, seducing both our officer and the viewer with just her eyes, showing a great range of emotion in close-up. The print on the DVD of this looks good, the orchestral score is really great and suits this to a tea. I have seen many, many silent films and I would certainly count this one among the best I've seen.
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