Roderick Raskolnikov, a brilliant criminology student and writer, becomes embittered by poverty and his inability to support his family. When he sees a desperate prostitute, Sonya, degraded by a vicious pawnbroker, Raskolnikov, a proponent of the idea that some people are imbued with such intelligence that the law cannot be applied to them as to other people, decides to rid the world of the pawnbroker and thus save his family and Sonya as well from the fate poverty forces on them. When Porphiry, the police detective investigating the murder, encounters Raskolnikov, he finds a man nearly crippled by the guilt and paranoia his deed has burdened him with. But Raskolnikov clings with as much coldness and calculation as he can muster to his guiding idea, that some crimes ought not to be punished.Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Josef von Sternberg was contractually obligated to make this film, and he disliked it, saying in his autobiography that it was "no more related to the true text of the novel than the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gower is related to the Russian environment." See more »
There's something queer about this?
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One of the credits reads "Story by Dostoievsky". There is an asterisk next to this credit, and at the bottom it says, "Feodor Dostoievsky, Russia's foremost author, wrote 'Crime and Punishment' in 1866'". See more »
Peter Lorre stars in this fine adaptation of the Dostoyevsky novel, directed by Josef von Sternberg. Lorre plays a criminology student who murders an evil pawnbroker. He appears to have gotten away with it but his feelings of guilt and a police inspector's suspicions may do him in. It's a compelling crime drama with a great cast and creative direction from von Sternberg. Lorre gives a dynamic turn full of highs and lows. The highs are shades of his "M" greatness and the lows are when he gets a little campy. Edward Arnold makes a fun foil for him. The rest of the cast includes Marian Marsh, Elisabeth Risdon, Douglass Dumbrille, Gene Lockhart, and stage actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell in one of her few film roles as the pawnbroker, a completely unlikable character if there ever was one. Von Sternberg's direction is very polished by 1935 standards. His beautiful close-ups of Marian Marsh are enough to make anyone fall in love with her. Despite some pacing issues and a few oddly placed attempts at comedy, it's a strong effort from all involved. The usual 'book vs movie' complaints apply, of course, but none of them are deal-breakers to me. If you're a fan of the director or stars, it's a must-see.
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