The Love of Jeanne Ney (1927) Poster

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blue-75 August 2002
Like Alfred Hitchcock, director G.W. Pabst's films have the feeling of having been created by someone with great technical ability. THE LOVE OF JENNY NEY (DIE LIBE DER JEANNE NEY, Germany, 1927)plays like one of the great Hitchcock films from the sound era. As the so called silent era came to an end the art of cinema seemed to burst into full flower. Look at Murnau's SUNRISE, Vidor's THE CROWD, Seastrom's THE WIND, De Mille's THE KING OF KINGS (to name a few) and it is easy to see why the artist of the day were reluctant to enter the world of "sound". The DVD version of THE LOVE OF JENNY NEY from Kino Video is truly beautiful to look at. The new orchestral score by Timothy Brock is excellent and very effective. Like many of Pabst's films, a little patience is required, as characters and situations only become clear as the story progresses. And this film plays like a classic Hitchcock film -- with innocent people getting deeper and deeper into a web of destruction. This is a film that is even more interesting to watch the second time around. And as noted above, it is truly a text book of what the silent cinema was capable of doing. Brigette Helm, who made such an impression in Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS, gives a moving performance as a blind girl pulled into the intrigue. Well worth adding to your collection if you care for great cinema!
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How cinema tells a story
RNQ5 April 2007
Like most films, The Love of Jeanne Ney is a melodrama, one of the right sort that absorbs you in the story. One hook is, or was, political, with a choice of sides in the Civil War in Russia, refined as support for workers in France, including Jeanne at her typewriter while her uncle does fancy deals. The lasting hook is the skill with which the film is made, particularly the handling of scenes on a train and outdoor scenes. These include lengthy tracking shots well edited together: the hero, running to keep up with an automobile, and especially a long walk through crowds in the market of Les Halles in Paris, which is Atget in motion. Without Pabst, no Renoir, no Altman.
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From a Master Film Director
eibon0411 January 2002
Love of Jeanne Ney(1927) is an involving Wartime melodrama with images that impress. Definitely the work of a great director in G.W. Pabst who is the second greatest filmmaker in German Silent films right after Fritz Lang. Includes a post Metropolis role for Brigitte Helm. Acting is very good and the set designs are some of the best in Silent cinema. A downbeat film with a contrasting happy ending.
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One of the great unique films of that era
willcarson435815 March 2011
Just saw this film and was very impressed with the style and story. Like all the others who have commented, I was immediately drawn in to the story and characters. Even though there were minimal subtitles, the story was not difficult to follow. It is a different way to tell a story where body movement and gestures replace the voice. The orchestral soundtrack was well matched to the mood and action. I had never heard of this film and only found it by accident when searching on whatever became of Bridgit Helm who did not pursue acting after (?) this final film. It is also a historical drama and has interesting details of life in that time. Definitely one of the great films of that era.
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In Praise of Fritz Rasp
EdgarST2 January 2017
Georg Wilhelm Pabst (or GW Pabst, born in 1885) was one of the great German filmmakers during the silent period. He established his name with his first film, the drama of greed "The Treasure" (1923), but with the third one, "The Joyless Street" (1925) he revealed himself as a major force of the "New Objectivity", beyond the distortions of expressionism, touching the social problems of Germany, between the two great wars. He continued with "Mysteries of a Soul" (1926) and "The Love of Jeanne Ney" (1927), whose recent vision motivates these notes; then gave a masterstroke with "Pandora's Box" (1929), which led Louise Brooks to immortality, and when sound came, in 1930 he released the antiwar drama" Frontline 1918 ", which was banned by the Nazis, made the film version of "The 3-Penny Opera" (1931) by Brecht and Weil, followed by a drama of Franco-German solidarity, "Camaraderie" (1931); an incursion into fantastic cinema with "L'Atlantide" (1932), and his own reading of Cervantes' "Don Quixote" (1933). Although he did not stop working and made more films of value, Pabst saw his career affected by the rise of the Nazis, when he had to move between Berlin, Paris, Hollywood and Vienna, where he died in 1967.

The romantic account of "The Love of Jeanne Ney" goes from Ukraine to France, following the daughter of a French diplomat who is in love with a Bolshevik. The couple reunites in Paris after several vicissitudes. The characters include Jeanne's uncle, owner of a research firm, his blind daughter (Brigitte Helm, the Maria of "Metropolis"), a North American millionaire who has lost a invaluable diamond, and a Russian informer who sells to the highest bidder. There are moments of great visual force, as the scene in which the blind girl discovers the corpse of her father; and the initial scenes of the Russian revolution.

However, the reason that motivates me to write about the film is, above all, extraordinary actor Fritz Rasp (1891-1976), as the ruthless snitch, fearsome as none. Rasp is an icon of the Teutonic villain: from the first time I saw him as the overwhelming "Thin Man" in Lang's "Metropolis," serving the owner of the city, every time I see him in another film, his characters are not to be trusted and his presence is intimidating: as the colonel in "Spies" and as "The Man" in "The Woman in the Moon", both by Lang, or as the Jew J.J. Peachum, "King of the Beggars", in Pabst's "The 3-Penny Opera". In "The Love of Jeanne Ney" Rasp builds the disgusting character of Khalibiev, an informant who fingers the Bolsheviks in Ukraine, and in Paris not only does he stalk Jeanne and her lover, but uses Jeanne's young blind cousin to concrete his evil plans.

As Pabst, Rasp also continued working during the Nazi period, although not acting with the frequency of the past. He had a long career, that included playing the lead in a film of the "new cinema" of West Germany, "Lina Braake" (1975), which was his last appearance in cinema.
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Barnstorming Silent Melodrama
richardchatten10 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
An elaborate, lavishly produced and decidedly pre-code melodrama largely set in Paris (and which contains some wonderful location work), director G.W.Pabst's camera sweeps through this film in energetic pursuit of the many characters, convolutions and coincidences thrown up in his path by novelist Ilya Ehrenburg.

Most of the supporting cast overact enjoyably outrageously; Fritz Rasp actually gets to twirl his moustache a few times as the villain, while Robert Scholz is wonderfully sneering as the chief of police who thinks he has the hero at his mercy. Quieter performances are offered by leads Édith Jéhanne and Uno Henning, and two actors to become familiar as Hollywood expats are Sig Arno as a reporter who recovers a stolen diamond by pulling a parrot's head off, and Vladimir Sokoloff (one of the very few bona fide Russians in the cast), who it's nice to see in a sympathetic role substantially larger than most of those he later played in Hollywood.
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I guess I am the odd man out here.
planktonrules16 May 2010
I know that G. W. Pabst is a world-famous director, so I know that many will disagree with me on this one, but I truly disliked "Die Lebe der Jeanne Ney". I also know that it has a much more than respectable overall score of 7.9...but I just thought the film was very overrated and there are much better German films of this era. Most of my reasons for disliking the film are because the script is just goofy and makes little sense, but I also thought that the performance of the supposedly blind woman was very poor and I would have expected more of Pabst.

The film begins during the Russian Revolution. Jeanne and her father are there on some sort of diplomatic-type mission and her father laments that the years spent in the country have been a waste of time. At this point, you see Jeanne thinking about her experiences--falling in love with a Communist and her championing of the Bolshevik revolution. This is the sort of plot, by the way, that NEVER would have been allowed just a few years later during the Nazi years--no way would such a film ever see the light of day because it is pro-Communist.

An evil schemer, Khalibiev, has created a list of supposed Communinists and sold it to Mr. Ney. Jeanne's lover comes to Ney to demand the list and in the process he kills his lover's father. Jeanne comes in to see this happen and soon flees to Paris to stay with an uncle. However, and this makes no sense at all, she STILL is in love with her Bolshevik boyfriend--even though she knows he murdered her father--who she supposedly loved!! Who writes this sort of stuff?! Once in Paris, Jeanne is lusted after by her nasty Uncle--who happens to be a private detective. At the same time, her blind cousin is courted by Khalibiev--who ALSO lusts after Jeanne!! Eventually the Uncle is killed by Khalibiev (it's a long story) and Jeanne's Communist lover (who just happens to be in Paris as well--it's odd how NONE of the Russians in the film seem to stay in Russia!!) is implicated. So, it's up to the plucky Jeanne to save the day.

Very little of this movie seems plausible. Mostly it's because of Jeanne's unwillingness to bear some sort of grudge for the murder of her father, but there is still more that makes no sense. Khalibiev is a scoundrel but is so unsubtle and obvious you wonder why it took anyone more than a fraction of a second to suspect him! And as for the blind girl, she needed acting lessons and Pabst did nothing to stop this overacting. Get her own home where she has lived for years, the lady gropes around like she's never been there before AND she never looks towards people when they talk. Had Pabst or this bad actress spent more than a minute or two with a blind person, then they would have realized this was all wrong. Yes, I expect that by 1927 the films had become sophisticated enough that they should have gotten this right.

Overall, the film is a silly trifle and not much more. For a better German silent film, try something by Fritz Lang or F.W. Murnau...or a good film by G. W. Pabst, such as "Die Freudlose Gasse" or "Tagebuch Einer Verlorenen". Or, see and here Pabst's brilliant sound film "Westfront 1918", for that matter.
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Wonderful film!
Reichswasserleiche31 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
First of all, I think that this is the best Pabst film I've seen. I really love Die freudlose Gasse, but there is something about Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney that is so much better.

In Pabst's Die freudlose Gasse, I thought that Pabst did a great job experimenting with slow motion, different film stock, and lighting, with Geheimnisse einer Seele, Pabst did a terrific job with special effects/various techniques (perhaps maybe even overdoing it), but with Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney, I think he was able to really find a happy medium. He used various techniques he used in Geheimnisse einer Seele but didn't overdo it and used them to their full advantage by using them as a plot device that fit in seamlessly with the story. Whereas Die freudlose Gasse has the potential to be perfect, Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney has almost reached perfection. Maybe Die freudlose Gasse appears to be a bit rough due to missing parts and scholars/film archivists not knowing the order of the scenes, thus restored versions of the film don't guarantee that the presentation of the film is that close to the original, but Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney really was a step forward. I'm not making sense and it's a bit hard for me to try to explain my thoughts, but what I'm trying to get to is that this film was a huge improvement from his previous films.

The film is a (melo)drama, but it had me intrigued almost from the beginning. I hated that Pabst started the film with Fritz Rasp because Rasp is truly a hideous man. I noticed that he always plays the sleazy guy in films and his face is really perfect for that.Jéhanne and Helm's acting is so natural and beautiful, particularly Helm's, but Rasp overacts in almost every scene. What's the point of slowing getting closer to a girl and then all of a sudden grabbing her? Jéhanne plays the sweet, innocent, and somewhat naïve Jeanne and although I would usually be annoyed with characters like Jeanne, I couldn't help but like her. The story is of lovers who are madly in love with each other yet something happens that separates them. Then another incident occurs that could separate the lovers but a nice man comes along and patches things up. Misunderstandings happen, murder, and all other great things that probably happen in soap operas occur, but the film implies a happy ending. I really adore this film, but my biggest problem with it is the story. Although highly enjoyable, I wonder why the film leaves Gabrielle with an unhappy ending and doesn't even return to her after her father's death. Out of all the characters in the film, I think she has suffered the most and deserved a happy ending. Jeanne deserves it as well but Gabrielle was such a tragic figure that I couldn't help but almost cry when she found her father's dead body. I also didn't understand why Gabrielle first flinched from Khalibiev's (Rasp) touch but then somehow fell in love with him. I thought that she was able to see, despite being blind, behind is "friendly" exterior, but she somehow fell for him because he brought her flowers and acted as if he really loved her when all he wanted to do was seduce Jeanne. Jeanne was never comfortable around Khalibiev and I kept looking forward to a scene when she would tell Gabrielle that she is not comfortable with Gabrielle's engagement with Khalibiev but that never happened. The final shot is truly a beautiful one, but it's too simple to wrap up everything: how will Jeanne and Andreas (Henning) be together when there are political problems surrounding their relationship? One of Die freudlose Gasse's criticisms is that the melodrama overpowers the message behind the film and that applies to the film perfectly. I don't agree much with the criticism for Die freudlose Gasse, but the happy ending truly seems tacked on like it just needs to happen. But things really aren't that simple! But nonetheless, that final shot means multiple things, which is why I love it. The obvious one is that the murderer has been caught, but the diamond also can be foreshadowing Jeanne and Andreas' marriage, and perhaps maybe it is a happy ending for Gabrielle; since the diamond was found by her father's company, most likely she would be able to have the reward money.

After watching this film, I really didn't understand why Die freudlose Gasse got all the attention out of the many films Pabst directed. Is it because Die freudlose Gasse addresses the political, social, and moral problems in Germany/Austria directly whereas Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney brings forth what was going on around the time the film was made but is overshadowed by the melodramatic story? I just think that this film is one of Pabst's strongest silent œuvre because everything fits so well, but that's just my opinion.
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Forgattable for the most part
Horst_In_Translation17 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney" or "The Love of Jeanne Nay" is a German film from 1927 and this is a year when sound films slowly became more relevant. But this one we have here is still silent and consequently also in black-and-white. It runs for 100 minutes roughly and was directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst. Rudolf Leonhardt and (the more known) Ladislaus Vajda adapted a novel by Ilja Ehrenburg for the screen here. The lead actress is Édith Jéhanne and it is by far her most known portrayal. Her character was surprisingly short-lived compared to her co-star's Brigitte Helm for example and she also did not manage to make a transition into sound films. Overall, this is nowhere near Pabst's most or least known works, but the French background also shows that the filmmaker worked on movies that went way beyond Germany's borders. However, I also must say that this film here did not get me interested in any other of his works and most of the stuff I saw from him left me fairly unimpressed. Of course, the reason may be that I generally do not care about silent films too much, but still, looking at some of the films' IMDb rating (also this one) I expected better quality. I do not recommend Jeanny Ney as I did hardly care for the character at all. Thumbs down.
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