starring Emil Jannings
MOTION PICTURE MAGAZINE
Emil Jannings again demonstrates that he is supreme as a pantomimist in this simple, but powerfully dramatic triangle - which is enacted against the background of a Berlin music hall. As in "The Last Laugh," he submerges his personality so that one sees beyond the environment of the character portrayed - and discovers the soul of the man.
The same invisible forces which guide a man's conduct take him in charge and wreck him. Boisterous, playful, cunning, proud, a big mastiff, sure of himself and his strength - he plays upon his emotions and becomes so much animated stuffing in the hands of the wily temptress - whose passion is men.
The story builds in typical Teutonic fashion -marching inexorably to its predestined tragic climax. The director hasn't missed a single point in fashioning the story as an impressive study of realism and his figure stalk life-like across the screen.
The brutish cavalier of the carnival renounces his marital vows. A woman, soft and sensuous, with big, limpid eyes comes into his life. She is the Eve who destroys his Eden. The slattern he calls his wife bows down with grief and humiliation. And her man runs away with his new mistress - runs away to reap the age-old insults of his careless friends who have knowledge of his degradation. There is your triangle - shot with varied shadings of true character building. It is told in the flash-back style with Jannings facing the Court as the bitter memories unfold.
Here is a picture which paints human wreckage in it natural color of gray. Thru it all Jannings stalks as a human being. And not far behind him in the conception of what she represents is Lya de Putti.
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