Georg Wilhelm Pabst

Georg Wilhelm Pabst – Die freudlose Gasse AKA The Joyless Street (1925)

Vienna in the biggest depression, directly after WW1. In a slum, Lila Leid, the wife of lawyer Leid is murdered, Egon, secretary of one of Leid’s clients is arrested. He was with her, and had her necklace, because he needed some money for his own stock exchange deals. The same deal brings poverty to ex-government official Rumfort, his daughter Greta, who also has lost her job, tries to get some money to get food. She rents a room of the flat she, her young sister and her father are living in to an American Red Cross official, who pays $60 rent, but the money is taken by some of her father’s creditors. But their neighbour, shop owner Mrs Greifer knows how to “help”, she and Mrs. Merkel are running a nightclub with a brothel… Read More »

Georg Wilhelm Pabst – Westfront 1918 (1930)

Plot synopsis
Westfront 1918 (aka Comrades of 1918) was the first talkie effort from German filmmaker G. W. Pabst, which he made for Nero Films, a production company headed up by Seymour Nebenzahl. Like the contemporary Hollywood production All Quiet on the Western Front, Pabst’s film is a bitter, melancholy antiwar statement. The story concentrates on four German soldiers, sent to the front in the waning days of World War 1. The futility of killing an enemy who is already dead spiritually, and of being killed for a cause that has for all intents and purposes been resolved, is brought home to the viewer with both barrels. The astonishingly fluid camerawork of Fritz Arno puts the spectator in the thick of the battle, and the effect is both terrifying and heartbreaking To watch only a few moments of Westfront 1918, one might think that Pabst had been making sound pictures all his life, rather than a mere couple of months. – by Hal Erickson. Read More »

Georg Wilhelm Pabst – Der Prozeß (1948)

Quote:In the tradition of Eötvös, to whom the film is dedicated as a “pioneer for truth and justice”, Pabst portrays the reality of Jewish life in hauntingly designed scenes and explains both religious superstitions and racist, nationalistic and economic-political arguments against anti-Semitism , which is based on anti-Semitic pamphlets such as the alleged ‘Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion’: this forgery had not yet been published in 1882, but predecessor writings were already widespread and Pabst drew a parallel with this consciously used anachronism to Hitler, who in “Mein Kampf “Expressly mentions the ‘protocols’. Read More »

Georg Wilhelm Pabst – Die Büchse der Pandora AKA Pandora’s Box (1929)

Pandora’s Box (German: Die Büchse der Pandora) is a 1929 German silent film based on Frank Wedekind’s plays Erdgeist (Earth Spirit, 1895) and Die Büchse der Pandora (1904). Directed by Austrian filmmaker Georg Wilhelm Pabst, the film stars Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner and Francis Lederer. Brooks’ portrayal of a seductive, thoughtless young woman whose raw sexuality and uninhibited nature bring ruin to herself and those who love her, although initially unappreciated, eventually made the actress a star. Read More »

Georg Wilhelm Pabst – Tagebuch einer Verlorenen AKA Diary of a Lost Girl [+extra] (1929)

Quote:
Thymiane is a beautiful young girl who is not having a storybook life. Her governess, Elizabeth, is thrown out of her home when she is pregnant, only to be later found drown. That same day, her father already has a new governess named Meta. Meinert, downstairs druggist, takes advance of her and gets Thymiane pregnant. When she refuses to marry, her baby is taken from her and she is put into a strict girls reform school. When Count Osdorff is unable to get the family to take her back, he waits for her to escape. She escapes with a friend and the friend goes with the Count while she goes to see her baby. Thymiane finds that her baby is dead, and the Count has put both girls up at a brothel. When her father dies, Thymiane marries the Count and becomes a Countess, but her past and her hatred of Meta will come back to her. Read More »

Georg Wilhelm Pabst – Kameradschaft AKA Comradeship (1931)

Synopsis:
An old German mine was split in two after the end of WWI because of where the new border was located. In the French part a fire breaks out; the German miners send a rescue group in, helping their French comrades. Three old German miners, who were not treated friendly at a French inn the night before, start their own private rescue through an old tunnel that separated the two mines. Will the official rescue party realize there are others left behind in time to save them? Read More »

Georg Wilhelm Pabst – Die 3 Groschen-Oper AKA The Threepenny Opera [+Commentary] (1931)

In London at the turn of the century, the bandit Mack the Knife marries Polly without the knowledge of her father, Peachum, the ‘king of the beggars’.
Quote:
Brecht’s opera, as we have seen, is not as ideologically pure as he would have us believe, nor is Pabst’s film as apolitical as Brecht charged. Both works are to be valued in their own right, although to my mind, Pabst’s film is ideologically more correct from a Marxist point of view. One can argue, then, that despite Brecht’s objections to the film, Pabst’s version of THE THREE PENNY OPERA is the most Brechtian film adaptation of Brecht’s work to date. Read More »