Joe May's sensual drama of life in the Berlin underworld is in many ways the perfect summation of German filmmaking in the silent era: a dazzling visual style, a psychological approach to ...
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Flashback story of an escape from the lonely, high-security Dartmoor Prison. A jealous barber's assistant is enraged by the attentions that his manicurist girlfriend pays to a customer. He ... See full summary »
Hans Adalbert Schlettow,
A wealthy man invites the local wealthy bachelors over for a puppet show about men who covet another man's wife. The puppeteer is actually a witch and gives the men nightmares about what could happen if they date the lady of the house.
Prologue: The murderer "Boss" Huller - after having spent ten years in prison - breaks his silence to tell the warden his story. "Boss", a former trapeze artist, and his wife own a cheap ... See full summary »
Ewald André Dupont
Lya De Putti
Set in the bleak aftermath and devastation of the World War I, a recently demobbed soldier, Timosh, returns to his hometown Kiev, after having survived a train wreck. His arrival coincides ... See full summary »
After killing her treacherous step-father, a girl tries to escape the country with a young vagabond. She dresses as a boy, they hop freight trains, quarrel with a group of hobos, and steal ... See full summary »
William A. Wellman
Following World War I, after a long imprisonment, two German prisoner-of-war soldiers escape from a Siberian lead-mine. Karl manages to reach Germany before Richard, and is sheltered by ... See full summary »
Focuses on the Weimar Republic (1918-1933) and its 'collective spirit' in cinema. The purpose of film as a cultural tool is examined. Based on celebrated sociologist Siegfried Kracauer's seminal book 'From Caligari to Hitler' (1947).
Hans Henrik Wöhler,
After Siegfried's dead, Kriemhild marries Etzel, the King of the Huns. She gives birth to a child, and invites her brothers for a party. She tries to persuade Etzel and the other Huns, that... See full summary »
Joe May's sensual drama of life in the Berlin underworld is in many ways the perfect summation of German filmmaking in the silent era: a dazzling visual style, a psychological approach to its characters, and the ability to take a simple and essentially melodramatic story and turn it into something more complex and inherently cinematic.Written by
Poor Joe May. A pioneering director in the German film industry, he remains a comparatively little-known figure. While Lubitsch, Murnau and Lang are praised the world over, May and his films languished in obscurity. See more »
The first time that this German count watched Herr Joe May's "Asphalt" was during a mad Berliner soirée; the film was a wonderful and astonishing revelation, a great film due to its modernity and impeccable technical results. At the time the name of the director was written down in the decadent silent agenda as a director who would someday become famous and indeed Herr May has passed into the film history books with such superb films as "Das Indische Grabmal" (1921) and "Heimkehr" (1928).
From the very start of the film, even with the credits, Herr May's skill is established. He shows the fascinating big city and the main characters of the oeuvre ( a stylish crook, "desperate and in need", and a dutiful constable ) and skilfully uses crane shots around the streets ( MEIN GOTT!!... what an incredible and evocative atmosphere) emphasizing from that time on, the dramatic, sensual aspects of the film at once without the need of additional explanations.
As happens in many Weimar silent films, social aspects ripple beneath the surface of the story ( which concerns an unscrupulous woman and her questionable life and her obscure pimp with international interests all of which escape the innocent policeman hero ). May notes the different social classes that separate Dame Elsa ( Betty Amann ) and Herr Albert Hols ( Herr Gustav Fröhlich ), elegant and decadent for Dame Else and proletarian and common for Herr Albert ( the contrast between Dame Elsa's decadent life and Herr Albert's proletarian family are carefully depicted.) These backgrounds obviously influence their conduct and "principles", not to mention the way they both face life. Their different worlds t finally will collide hopelessly but beneath it all they are, in the end, just two lonely people ( and that's one of the most important aspect of the story ), who want to connect with each other in spite of their social and even sexual inner conflicts. Duty and law will collide with human need but redemption is also part of the mix after a painful struggle.
"Asphalt" is outstanding for its superb direction and modernity, not to mention the gorgeous and stylish Dame Betty Amann, the unquestionable and sensual star of the film thanks to the superb and wonderful Herr Günther Rittau cinematography.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must order one of his Teutonic heiresses to asphalt the Schloss pavement but in one of her most gorgeous costumes.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/
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