Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-law student, kills an old pawnbroker and her sister, perhaps for money, perhaps to prove a theory about being above the law. He comes to police attention ... See full summary »
Living in squalor, a former student and loner (Raskolnikov) murders an old pawnbroker woman in order to confirm his hypothesis that certain individuals can pretermit morality in the pursuit of something greater.
In France, an insane surgeon's obsession with an actress from England leads him to replace her pianist husband's hands that got mangled in an accident with the hands of a late knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.
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>
[Mrs. Patrick Campbell on Josef von Sternberg] I grasped how foolish I had been to imagine for one moment that there was going to be any intelligent pleasure in working even with this man. He wanted only obedience and silence to get his own effects. Anything in my face and figure that wasn't ugly enough, he made into a camera distortion. The director and the cameraman together did the 'acting' of my short role, helped, I suppose, by the cutting room. When I saw the rushes, I knew beyond question that no director asks for imagination, gifts, or experience from the artist. I had myself wished to put the necessary horror and ugliness into my face, voice, and movements, but instead it was achieved through the exaggeration of every shadow on my face, and even of the pores of my skin. 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 »
Dostoyevsky's classic novel turned into a classic film by the legendary von Sternberg. In the film Peter Lorre plays a brilliant but poverty stricken criminalologist who resorts to murder when his mom and sister are threatened with being homeless. The crime seems to go off without a hitch until his conscience begins to haunt him and his fear of a detective (Edward Arnold) starts to cause more panic. This is an extremely impressive version of the novel and also features a terrific performance by Lorre but the real beauty here is the vision by von Sternberg. His stamp is all over this film and it's easy to see early on with the beautiful lighting, which creates some wonderful atmosphere and real tension. The way the cinematography picks up each and every shadow just makes the tension in the story build and build and this is especially true right after the murder when Lorre panics and tries to get away without being seen. This entire segments contains some great suspense and the director gets most of the credit. I found Lorre's performance to be one of the greatest of his career because he's actually got quite a bit too do here. Not only must he play a genius but he also must show fear, panic and even a comic tone. When Lorre's character loses his fear it turns into some comic touches and he delivers on all the notes. Arnold turns in another strong performance and his laid back approach is perfect opposite Lorre's breakdown. The one weak spot in the film for me is the final act, which seems to be drawn out too long due to Lorre's relationship with a poor woman (Marian Marsh). Mrs. Patrick Campbell is downright wicked in her role of the murdered pawnbroker. With a little bit of editing this movie could have been a real masterpiece of the genre but as it stands, this is a perfectly entertaining "B" movie that has plenty going for it.
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