A small and insignificant bookkeeper, Kleinman, is awoken one night by his neighbors who wants his help to track down a strangler who has been killing people all over town. The citizens form vigilance committees, but when Kleinman has dressed, his neighbors have disappeared. Meanwhile a circus has come to town. Irmy and Paul are two of the artists. After a fight, Irmy leaves the circus in the middle of the night. Eventually she meets Kleinman, scared and alone. Written by
Vintage Woody (either you love him or hate him there is no inbetween)
This excellent black and white, set perhaps in Berlin in the 20's has no conclusion, only vignettes in the period from midnight to dawn. The city is engulfed in fear. A serial killer is at large..
The camera shots illicit tension. All is shrouded in dark and murky unusual camera angles. The outdoor scenes are always somewhat blurred and slightly out of focus adding to the climate of fear.
There is no plot per se, only chance meetings between participants. Of note is the conversation in the whorehouse, stimulating and extremely thought provoking. Woody's use of a revolving camera in the shot from face around to face around to face while the girls talk and the conversation is heard no matter on whom the camera is focused, -- this is a first. The viewer needs to pay extreme attention. Moreover the background music of Kurt Weill adds so much to the ambience.
Seeing this now makes me wish wholeheartedly that Woody and Mia never had that horrible unpleasantness between them. Now the future forebodes there never being such a pairing. We all do suffer, including them.
I say this film deserves a 10 out of 10 and the critics be damned. So many critics are prone to criticize every theatrical offering of Woody just because of his personal behavior.
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