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Asphalt
Asphalt
Actors: Gustav Fröhlich, Albert Steinrück, Betty Amann, Else Heller, Hans Adalbert Schlettow
Director: Joe May
Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Comedy, Drama
UR     2006     1hr 30min

From its amazing opening sequence of human and vehicular traffic sweeping through a nighttime cityscape entirely created inside the Ufa film factory, Asphalt marks a late addition to the eye-catching, mind-bending artistry...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Gustav Fröhlich, Albert Steinrück, Betty Amann, Else Heller, Hans Adalbert Schlettow
Director: Joe May
Creators: Günther Rittau, Joe May, Erich Pommer, Max Pfeiffer, Hans Székely, Rolf E. Vanloo
Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Silent Films, Comedy, Drama
Studio: Kino Video
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 07/18/2006
Original Release Date: 05/03/1930
Theatrical Release Date: 05/03/1930
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: German

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Movie Reviews

A Romantic Expression
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 03/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This stylish and sophisticated silent film coming just before sound has a sexy and romantic glow that rises above its melodramatic origins and ultimately touches the viewer's heart. German director Joe May, who would eventually gravitate to Hollywood and make some memorable "B" pictures, shows both flair and tenderness for subject matter in this story of a beautiful girl so long fallen that love might not be within her grasp.

Set designer Erich Kettelhut and cinematographer Gunther Tittau give a rich and opulent look to the simple storyline which proved too risque for some and was banned. No original negative is known to exist but this print discovered in Russia is probably as close to how it first appeared as we are likely to ever see. Viewed today, of course, it seems quite tame. Whether that is due to a more sophisticated understanding of matters pertaining to love and lust or just a benchmark of how far we ourselves have fallen depends on your point of view.

Beautiful thief Else Kramer (Betty Amann) uses her feminine charms and gracefully curved assets to steal. When she is finally caught, it is up to young street cop Holk (Gustav Frohlich) to escort her to justice. But the young man who still lives with his mother and father, who is also the Chief of Police, will prove no match for the game Else brings to the table. She cries and and pleads and implores on the short journey to the station, and once he gives in and allows her to make a stop at 11 Kirchstass, she overwhelms him and he falls in love.

Like all men who've just been with a woman, all he can think of across the gulf which separates them is his longing to be with her again. Though it should have been only a ploy for the worldly Else, May shows little moments which give us an inkling that Else may have a heart after all. When she affectionately runs her fingers over his papers then mails them back to Gustav with a gift, he storms back to 11 Kirchstass in anger. Once she sees how much she has hurt young Holk, that part of her heart which has remained untouched by her jaded morality comes to life again.

But danger is moving closer, as her tawdry entanglements include a partner. It will bring about a violent confrontation and a moment of decision for Else, who must decide if it is too late for redemption. Amann is truly wonderful in those final moments, wondering whether love will be lost forever. Tenderness rises above melodrama in this beautifully produced and directed silent from Germany. A must see for silent film buffs."
Asphalt is a treasure!
M. FERGUSON | 11/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Anyone interested in Film Noir and German Expressionist film should find a lot to treasure in ASPHALT. The visual style is stunning and the smoldering beauty of Betty Amann as Else the thief is memorable. This film is an experience...an experience that many would appreciated."
Superb silent film
Jmark2001 | Florida | 11/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I collect silent films and I thought that I had seen all of the films that were worth seeing. I was wrong. Here is a superb 1929 German film that was made at the height of silent cinema's expressiveness. If this film had been made with sound, its power would have been severely diminshed. Close-ups and few title cards explain all you need to know about the plot and underlying motivations of the characters. I won't spoil the ending so I will only give a bit of the plot. A young, honorable police officer is seduced by a female thief into neglecting to do his duty. His shame and the powerful emotions that his dereliction of duty unleashes in both the policeman and the thief propel the rest of the movie to its conclusion. This is a VERY German film. Some themes occur over and over in the German films of the twenties: the downfall of those who do not obey authority and the law, the ability of women to destroy externally powerful men, the stereotyped image of destroyed men on their knees before women as if they were boys (This almost never happens in American films but it is always happening in German films), the need for law and order, etc. This is a very good print with most of the film in pristine condition. A wonderful morality tale handled with tenderness, intelligence, and silent film master craftsmanship."
Terrific German "film noir"...
E. | Huntington, NY USA | 09/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a terrific piece of German "film noir", which was cut off by the Nazis in 1933, when it should have begun to flourish... this DVD uses a very good set of prints, and has a fine soundtrack... the story line is intact, and the directing and acting is superb... a very good film, of which there would have been more but for Hitler."