A beggar, a prostitute and an unemployed man get caught up in lethal conflicts over a pearl necklace, which could mean their escape from poverty. Some jewellery lands right next to his feet. At long last, he, and the poor young boy lodging with him, have an opportunity to live a better life. At a little celebration party at the dive, they are drawn into in a vicious circle of dealers and prostitutes, in which many a worker is trapped – along with the prostitute who learns of the beggar's suddenly gained wealth. This barely known masterpiece of proletarian cinema, made by Leo Mittler in 1929, is outstanding mainly due to Friedl Behn-Grund’s fantastic camera work and brilliant montage sequences. Prometheus promoted these young talents, who learned a quite a lot from their Russian colleagues at Mezhrabpom-Film. Social issues and a new cinematic language were combined to create films with mass appeal. Hitherto, only a fragment of the film was known to exist, but recently the missing act was discovered. Now this stylistically sound film, which penetrates deep into the underworld and its seemingly inescapable poverty, can be seen in full length again.
Print courtesy of Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Berlin
by Leo Mittler
with Lissy Arna, Paul Rehkopf, Fritz Genschow
Germany (through 1945) 1929