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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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
Vienna in the biggest depression, directly after WW1. In a slum, Lila Leid, the wife of lawyer Leid is murdered, Egon, secretary of one of Leid's clients is arrested. He was with her, and ... See full summary »
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
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,
Edwin, a taxi driver, lives with Annie, a neurasthenic model. They plan to spend Sunday at the Nikolassee beach with Wolfgang, an officer, gentleman, antiquarian, gigolo, at the moment a ... See full summary »
Mary, a poor farm girl, meets Tim just as word comes that war has been declared. Tim enlists in the army and goes to the battlefields of Europe, where he is wounded and loses the use of his... See full summary »
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams
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 »
Its hard to like 'Asphalt' simply because the lead characters are so unlikeable. A policeman who is too weak to stand by his moral compass falls for a seductive jewel thief. The film consists of his attempts to refrain from her seductions, feeling low after his failures, then going back only to fail again. It is fine for half an hour or so (the first half hour is the best), but becomes tedious and quickly loses momentum. It doesn't help that these femme-fatale stories were so overdone already.
The most winning aspect of this film is the technical achievements. After a shaky Vertov-esque beginning, it quickly becomes sleek and controlled, very modern. The noir cinematography is typically excellent for the German silents of the time.
Despite these virtues however, it is not a story that moves you in any way, except to strong dislike of the characters.
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