Roderick Raskolnikov, a brilliant criminology student and writer, becomes embittered by poverty and his inability to support his family. When he sees a desperate prostitute, Sonya, degraded by a vicious pawnbroker, Raskolnikov, a proponent of the idea that some people are imbued with such intelligence that the law cannot be applied to them as to other people, decides to rid the world of the pawnbroker and thus save his family and Sonya as well from the fate poverty forces on them. When Porphiry, the police detective investigating the murder, encounters Raskolnikov, he finds a man nearly crippled by the guilt and paranoia his deed has burdened him with. But Raskolnikov clings with as much coldness and calculation as he can muster to his guiding idea, that some crimes ought not to be punished. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Josef von Sternberg was contractually obligated to make this film, and he disliked it, saying in his autobiography that it was "no more related to the true text of the novel than the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gower is related to the Russian environment." See more »
[Looking down at the water]
I wonder how many poor devils have found an answer to their questions down there. If only the dead could ever come back.
[goes inside to fetch a book, returns]
Remember the Raising of Lazarus?
[Takes Bible, turns it over and hands it back]
Are you happy to have your Bible back?
Would you like me to read you the Raising of Lazarus?
[They go inside]
I can't understand you Sonya, how can you continue living like this?
I believe in God.
What have you or I ...
[...] See more »
One of the credits reads "Story by Dostoievsky". There is an asterisk next to this credit, and at the bottom it says, "Feodor Dostoievsky, Russia's foremost author, wrote 'Crime and Punishment' in 1866'". See more »
Josef von Sternberg directed this version of "Crime and Punishment," starring Peter Lorre, Edward Arnold, and Marian Marsh in 1935. It's an updating of the great novel, with Lorre as a man tortured by his own conscience.
It's a fairly dreary-looking affair, quite dark, with impressive use of shadows. The most interesting aspect of the way it was filmed to me is how Lorre's small stature is emphasized, as if the staircase, for instance, was over-sized. The incomparably beautiful Marian Marsh is the prostitute who tries to help him, and she gives a very gentle and heartfelt performance. Edward Arnold is the bombastic head of the murder investigation of the pawnbroker (Mrs. Patrick Campbell) - he's plenty scary. I don't blame Lorre for being a complete wreck.
Lorre is excellent playing a character who vacillates between arrogance one minute and fear the next. Definitely in the top ten of unusual faces and voices in film history, his hooded eyes show the torture the character is suffering.
Definitely worth seeing for von Sternberg's direction, Lorre and Marsh.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?