22 user 19 critic

The Joyless Street (1925)

Die freudlose Gasse (original title)
In post-WWI Vienna, Greta (Greta Garbo), her kid sister, and retired dad try to make it through tough times.


Georg Wilhelm Pabst (as G.W. Pabst)


Hugo Bettauer (based on the novel by), F.H. Lyon (translator)




Complete credited cast:
Asta Nielsen ... Maria Lechner
Greta Garbo ... Greta Rumfort
Ágnes Eszterházy ... Regina Rosenow (as Agnes Esterhazy)
Werner Krauss ... Metzger von Melchiorstrasse
Henry Stuart ... Egon Stirner
Einar Hanson ... Lt. Davis
Gregori Chmara ... Kellner
Karl Etlinger Karl Etlinger ... Max Rosenow
Ilka Grüning ... Frau Rosenow
Jaro Fürth Jaro Fürth ... Hofrat Rumfort
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dorothea Thiele Dorothea Thiele ... Lia Leid


Vienna in the biggest depression, directly after WW1. In a slum, Lila Leid, the wife of lawyer Leid is murdered, Egon, secretary of one of Leid's clients is arrested. He was with her, and had her necklace, because he needed some money for his own stock exchange deals. The same deal brings poverty to ex-government official Rumfort, his daughter Greta, who also has lost her job, tries to get some money to get food. She rents a room of the flat she, her young sister and her father are living in to an American Red Cross official, who pays $60 rent, but the money is taken by some of her father's creditors. But their neighbour, shop owner Mrs Greifer knows how to "help", she and Mrs. Merkel are running a nightclub with a brothel... Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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Did You Know?


Despite not being in this film, many contemporary writers continue to insist that Marlene Dietrich was in it. They also wrongly claim that Garbo was 19 years-old when she was actually 21. See more »

Alternate Versions

An edited sixty-minute version with English intertitles exists, focused on Greta Garbo's story line with the majority of Asta Nielsen's scenes removed. Notably this is the version available on Amazon Prime US. See more »


Referenced in The Talking Muse (2003) See more »

User Reviews

Memorable Pabst Film, Gritty and Intense
1 May 2005 | by gftbiloxiSee all my reviews

Director G.W. Pabst would later achieve considerable success with such films as PANDORA'S BOX and DIARY OF A LOST GIRL (both starring Louise Brooks), but while his earlier JOYLESS STREET is less sophisticated it is no less effective in its intense and gritty story of poverty and corruption in post-WWI Vienna.

Pabst was particularly noted for his realistic style, and the grainy, harsh look of the film serves well the story of a woman (the celebrated Asta Nielsen) driven to a life of prostitution and crime by her lover's betrayal. Today, however, the film is chiefly recalled as one of Greta Garbo's first major films, and although somewhat stiff, Garbo acquits herself very well in the role of a woman who contemplates prostitution in an effort to provide for her suddenly destitute family.

Considered scandalous at the time of its release, THE JOYLESS STREET was frequently cut for distribution--particularly in America. For many years the film existed only in edited form; the Kino video release, however, restores the film to its original form and length. Recommended.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer

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None | German

Release Date:

5 July 1927 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Joyless Street See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sofar-Film See more »
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Technical Specs


| (1981 restored) | | (copy with English titles at Brussels Musée du Cinéma) | | | | (2012 print of the Filmmuseum München 1989-2009 restoration) | (edited)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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