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Saturday, 1 September 2012

Joyless Street (1925) - Star of the month... Greta Garbo

'Joyless Street' (Die freudlose Gasse) is a 1925 German silent film directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst and starring Greta Garbo (in her second major film role) with Werner Krauss and Asta Nielsen.

Based on the novel by Hugo Bettauer, and set in post-war Vienna, the film presents a study on the clear division between the hungry and the privileged.

Greta Rumfort (played by Garbo) has just lost her job, is struggling to feed her father and younger sister. Matters are made worse when her father invests all of his savings into the stock market, which plunges after a false rumour about a strike. After renting a room in their flat to an American official, the money is taken by one of her father's creditors. Greta's neighbour in an attempt to assist, offers Greta a job in their cabaret/brothel. 

Greta Garbo in a publicity still for this film

Did you know...

  • This was Greta Garbo's second starring role
  • In the US, the film was released under the title, "The Street of Sorrow"
  • In Canada, the film was released under the title, "Viennese Love"
  • The dark haired woman waiting in line at the butcher is not Marlene Dietrich (as many people often think) - it is actually Hertha von Walther
  • In 1997, the film was remastered by the Filmmuseum Munich, where it was given a new musical score

Closing remarks

I was expecting this silent film to be slow and boring, but surprisingly, it was very entertaining and engaging. Just from this early screen appearance, Garbo radiates a glow and it is quite obvious she is destined to become a big star. 

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