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Asphalt (1929)

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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1 win. See more awards »

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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
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 | Romance

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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

 
marvelous visual & thematic template
5 August 2004 | by goblinhairedguySee all my reviews

Joe May's "Asphalt" is not as well remembered as the other masterpieces of German silent expressionist cinema, possibly due to the lack of immortals in the cast and its decidedly commercial scenario. But it certainly deserves a mention alongside the great works of Lang, Pabst, Murnau, et al. The cop-seduced-by-the-sexy-crook plot is the prototype for many a great (and not-so-great) film noir to come, and the seduction scene certainly packs a punch. Like most films of the time, it eventually descends into melodrama, but Gunther Rittau's remarkably mobile and probing camera is so skillful in revealing the characters' thoughts and lending pathos to their plight that he and the director transcend the clichés in the manner of Stahl and Ophuls, with some Langian irony peeking through at times. The opening profile of the city is a justly famed visual tour-de-force, but the stark, expressionist compositions that highlight the climax are just as striking and iconic. May never made the big time in Hollywood, but spun a few good programmers for the B picture mill.


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