7.7/10
3,448
32 user 42 critic

The Docks of New York (1928)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 29 September 1928 (USA)
A blue-collar worker on New York's depressed waterfront finds his life changed after he saves a woman attempting suicide.

Writers:

Jules Furthman (story and screenplay), John Monk Saunders (suggested by "The Dock Walloper" by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
George Bancroft ... Bill Roberts
Betty Compson ... Mae
Olga Baclanova ... Mrs. Lou Roberts (as Baclanova)
Clyde Cook ... 'Sugar' Steve
Mitchell Lewis ... Andy, the Third Engineer
Gustav von Seyffertitz ... Hymn Book Harry
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Storyline

Bill Roberts works as a stoker on a coal-red barge. It's dirty, hard work and the men have to put up with a foreman, Andy, who seems to enjoy making their life miserable. When finally off the ship, Bill sees a young woman struggling in the water - apparently trying to commit suicide. He takes her to the Sandbar saloon, the sailors' hangout. The girl is Mae and Bill takes a shine to her but so does Andy. One thing leads to another and Bill asks her to marry him then and there. They don't have a marriage ;licence however and despite Bill promising to get one first thing the morning he decides to leave her behind. When she gets into trouble however, Bill steps in. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In washed the tide. Picked from the driftwood at the waterside. A woman, sullen, weary, disillusioned. And a ship's stoker, ashore for a rollicking rouser. A Josef von Sternberg masterpiece (Print Ad- The Observer, ((Newberry, SC)) 26 March 1929)


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 September 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Docks von New-York See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

'Sugar' Steve tries to light Mae's cigarette from the same match he used to light Bill's and his own cigarettes while she is mending Bill's shirt. Mae blows out the match and says, "What are you trying to do, bring me more bad luck?" He must light a new match for her cigarette. At the time, "three on a match" was considered bad luck. Soldiers during the Crimea War believed that if three soldiers lit their cigarettes from the same match, one of the three would be killed, or alternately the third soldier to use the match would be shot. The superstition persisted with soldiers through World War II. See more »

Quotes

Bill Roberts: I've always been like this. There ain't no power on earth that could ever keep me ashore!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Video version includes new score by Gaylord Carter. See more »

Connections

Edited into Spisok korabley (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderful, engaging film
10 June 2002 | by filmnutzSee all my reviews

I thoroughly enjoyed "The Docks of New York." Betty Compson's portrayal of a disillusioned prostitute is riveting and clearly shows why she appeared in as many silent films as she did. She truly was a great silent star. She is good to look at and I found myself very much caring about what happened to her character. It is no wonder her image appeared on so many postcards and photographs from the 1920s. I think she was a bigger star during the silent era than most people today realize.

George Bancroft swaggers convincingly throughout. His is a strong, no-nonsense presence. Clyde Cook, known mostly for his many silent comedy films, is convincing as Bancroft's apprehensive and harried pal. Mitchell Lewis, as the third engineer who desires Compson, is appropriately menacing. Olga Baclanova, as his estranged wife, is also quite good.

The scenes in the boiler room of the ship well evoke the hazards and hardships of what must have been back-breaking labor.

The tavern scenes are raucous and animated and clearly depict the more tawdry aspects of such places. The juxtaposition of this setting, with its boisterous, cynical patrons and the hopeful act of marriage that takes place there, is masterful.

Favorite scene: On the morning after their "marriage" Compson offers to sew Bancroft's torn shirt pocket before he goes off to sea but can't see to thread the needle through her tears. He threads the needle for her; she then kneels between his legs and sews the pocket. The intimacy of this act, and the emotions it generates in both, is far more powerful than what we imagine took place in their bed the night before.

Great stuff!


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