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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?


Throughout her life, Asta Nielsen (Maria Lechner) always said that she failed to see the attraction and talent of Greta Garbo (Greta Rumfort). See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1997 the film was digitally remastered by the Filmmuseum Munich. It also got a new music score. See more »


Edited into Film Ist. A Girl & a Gun (2009) See more »

User Reviews

Depressive Period of History
10 May 2015 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In the post-WW1 in Vienna, a group of millionaires decide to manipulate the stock market with rumors to make it fall in the first moment and raise when people discover the truth. The ambitious Egon Stirner (Henry Stuart) loves Regina Rosenow (Agnes Esterhazy), who is the daughter of a wealthy man and she does not believe in his feelings. Egon has a love affair with Lia Leid, who is the wife of the wealthy Dr. Leid, and he asks if she may borrow some money to him to invest in the stock market. Meanwhile the secretary Marie (Asta Nielsen) has an unrequited love for Egon and decides to ask for a loan to Mrs. Greifer, who is the owner of a brothel in the poor Melchior Street, to give to Egon. The wealthy Don Alfonso Canez offers the amount to Marie and she goes to a room with him. When Lia is mysteriously murdered in a room in the same hotel, Marie falsely accuses Egon of killing her to Canez.

Meanwhile, the bureaucrat Hofrat Rumfort (Jaro Fürth) is not aware of the manipulation of the market and believes that is rich with the fall of the stocks and he spends a great amount. His daughter Greta (Greta Garbo) loses her job and they are forced to rent a room in their apartment to the Red Cross Lieutenant Davis (Einar Hanson) that pays a large amount to her. However she is forced use the money to pay the debts of her father. The only way to make money to feed the family is prostitution in Mrs. Greifer's brothel. What will be the fate of Greta?

"The Joyless Street" is a complex and melancholic story of a depressive period of history. The work of Georg Wilhelm Pabst is amazing since he is able to present a long feature (the edited version of 125 minutes running time) with many sub-plots and characters. This movie is also one of her first work of the gorgeous Greta Garbo that has a top-notch performance. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Rua das Lágrimas" ("Street of the Tears")

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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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