The Devious Path
The affluent lawyer Thomas Beck neglects his wife Irene in favour of work, and she embarks on a romance with a painter. Beck manages to prevent the pair from taking off to Vienna together, but in response, Irene throws herself wholeheartedly into Berlin’s nightlife. She carries on provocatively with a boxer, which ends in an attempted rape – and lands the Becks in divorce court … The original “Babylon Berlin”! G. W. Pabst, the great realist of Weimar-era cinema, uses a marital crisis to paint a shimmering portrait of society. Camerawork that is as unchained as Irene herself delves into a whirling world of luxury and vice. With a kind of “new functionalism”, it lays out drug use and prostitution both in the bohemian milieu and among the putative better set. And like the painter in the film, the camera is beguiled by Irene’s gaze as it caresses actress Brigitte Helm. Wrapped in recherché robes and furs, Helm embodies a woman trapped in the gilded cage of marriage. And Irene’s attempt to flee is less of a threat to the continued existence of that institution than the “new woman”, with her bobbed hair and cigarette holder, who makes a fascinating appearance in the film.
by Georg Wilhelm Pabst
with Gustav Diessl, Brigitte Helm, Hertha von Walther, Jack Trevor, Fritz Odemar, Nico Turoff, Ilse Bachmann, Richard Sora, Peter C. Leschka, Irm Cherry
Germany 1928 German intertitles 98’


  • Gustav Diessl
  • Brigitte Helm
  • Hertha von Walther
  • Jack Trevor
  • Fritz Odemar
  • Nico Turoff
  • Ilse Bachmann
  • Richard Sora
  • Peter C. Leschka
  • Irm Cherry


Director Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Screenplay Adolf Lantz, Ladislaus Vajda, Helen Gosewisch based on a story by Franz Schulz
Cinematography Theodor Sparkuhl
Editing Paul Falkenberg, Mark Sorkin, Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Set Construction Hans Sohnle, Otto Erdmann

Produced by

Erda-Film GmbH, Berlin, für/for Universal Pictures Corp. mbH

Additional information

DCP: Filmmuseum München
Digital Restoration: Filmmuseum München in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Filmarchiv Austria