“Six years in this country… and not one pleasant memory.”
In Crimea near the end of the Russian Civil War, a young woman (Edith Jehanne) in love with a Bolshevik (Uno Henning) must retreat to Paris after the sudden death of her father (Eugen Jensen). In Paris, Jeanne (Jehanne) stays with her detective-uncle (Adolf E. Licho), whose blind daughter (Brigitte Helm) falls for a sociopath (Fritz Rasp) planning to murder her after inheriting her money, and who has soon framed Henning for theft of a valuable diamond.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Falsely Accused
- G.W. Pabst Films
- Silent Films
G.W. Pabst is best known for the two films he made starring the incomparable Louise Brooks: Pandora’s Box / Lulu (1929) and Diary of a Lost Girl (1929). As in Pabst’s The Joyless Street (1925) (co-starring Greta Garbo), this earlier film is similarly concerned with luckless women struggling to survive in male-dominated spaces:
In this case, we see the travails of not only the titular character, but her hopelessly naive blind cousin (Helm will be recognizable to film fanatics as Maria in Metropolis), who not only lives with a money-obsessed father:
… but falls for the nasty, rat-like Rasp (seen here groping a kiss with Jehanne while holding clueless Helm’s hand:
In another minor but thematically relevant scene, Jehanne watches a beautiful young bride sobbing quietly during her festivities:
… before being swept into an embrace by her enthusiastic new husband.
What’s most consistently impressive about Pabst’s work is his visual style, on ample display here. Unfortunately, the narrative — including a bit about a diamond-swallowing parrot (!):
— is pure pulp, and doesn’t really satisfy. This one is only must-see viewing for Pabst enthusiasts.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Highly expressionistic cinematography
- The wild opening orgy scene
No, though of course fans of Pabst will want to check it out. Listed as a film with Historical Importance in the back of Peary’s book.