6 years ago

Great Garbo's Joyless Street (1925)

Vintage Cinema
Joyless Street (German: Die freudlose Gasse), 1925, exhibited in the U.S. as The Street of Sorrow, in Britain as The Joyless Street, a film based on the novel by Hugo Bettauer and directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst in Germany, is one of the first films of the "New Objectivity“ movement. Greta Garbo stars in her second major role. The film is often described as a morality story in which the 'fallen woman' suffers for her sins, while the more virtuous is rewarded.

In 1921 in a street called Melchiorgasse in the poor part of Vienna, Austria, there are only two wealthy people: the butcher Josef Geiringer and Mrs. Greifer, who runs a fashion boutique and a nightclub, patronized by wealthy Viennese. Annexed to the nightclub is Merkl Hotel, a brothel to which the women of the nightclub bring their clients. The film follows the lives of two women from the same poor neighborhood, as they try to better themselves during the period of Austrian postwar hyperinflation. They are Marie, who becomes a prostitute, and Grete, who at the last moment, is saved from that fate.

Marie, in love with a young banker assistant, Egon Stirner, believes him to be unfaithful, and falsely accuses him of murder, all the while knowing the true identity of the murderer, from having witnessed it herself.

At the finale Else, a wife and mother, who has previously provided sexual favors to the butcher for meat, kills the butcher because he refuses her any more meat. The poor of the neighborhood, hearing the sounds of the nightclub, revolt against the clients by throwing stones. The nightclub burns down killing Else and her husband in the attic, but not before allowing them to ease their infant safely down from the window to the waiting poor. Only Grete seems to have any hope of leaving Melchiorgasse and this because of her relationship with an American Red Cross officer.
The film's sets were designed by the art directors Otto Erdmann and Hans Sohnle.