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Asphalt (1929)

| Drama | 3 May 1930 (USA)
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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Joe May

Writers:

Joe May (screenplay) (as Fred Majo), Hans Székely (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Albert Steinrück ... Hauptwachtmeister Holk
Else Heller Else Heller ... Frau Holk
Gustav Fröhlich ... Wachtmeister Albert Holk
Betty Amann ... Else Kramer
Hans Adalbert Schlettow ... Konsul Langen
Hans Albers ... Ein Dieb
Arthur Duarte Arthur Duarte
Paul Hörbiger ... Ein Dieb
Trude Lieske Trude Lieske
Karl Platen Karl Platen
Rosa Valetti ... Frau an der Theke
Hermann Vallentin Hermann Vallentin
Kurt Vespermann ... (as Curt Vesperman)
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Storyline

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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

3 May 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Asfalto See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universum Film (UFA) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

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 »

Connections

Featured in Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood: End of an Era (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Superb Direction And Modernity

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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