Rebellious middle-aged bourgeois ventures out from his parlour to sample the fleshpots of The Street, only - inevitably - to skulk home chastened to the cosy security of spouse and soup tureen. Variations on this artless moral fable formed the basis for a whole cycle of 1920s 'street films', of which Murnau's first American movie, Sunrise, was perhaps the most memorable. Ex-theatre director and Max Reinhardt disciple, Grune tells the story with minimal intertitles and some visual panache in suggesting the iridescent but deadly seductiveness of the street. This is his most famous film, but it doesn't rank with the very best of German silent cinema: poor characterisation (Klöpfer contrives to be both dull and dislikeable as the ill-fated philistine, though Egede-Nissen, the dancer in Dr Mabuse the Gambler, is more lively as the vamp), flaccid sentimentality, and an often flagging pace make it seem more like a deserving revival than an exciting rediscovery.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Julius Urgiss, Karl Grune|