Marie (Maly Delschaft) is stuck in a small-town train station where her husband works. She dreams of the big city, a dream that is fueled by her husband’s new boss. But he has ulterior motives and Marie finds herself under a lot of pressure by him as her husband grows suspicious of her own loyalties.
Die Strecke is not a great film, but thanks to accompanying band Wien Diesel, it was an experience to watch it – an experience I enjoyed a whole lot.
Maria (Anita Dorris) is the daughter of a good family, her father (Christian Holt) a magistrate. When Maria strikes up a friendship with Lilo (Maly Delschaft), she meets Heinz (Walter Slezak) and falls in love with him. So much so, that she actually sleeps with him against all conventions. When she ends up pregnant, she knows she has to get an abortion. But abortions are illegal and Maria is promptly arrested and forced to have the child.
The film’s sensationalistic title is bound to give people wrong ideas about the nature of the film. It’s not some kind of (BDSM) erotica, but a highly political take on the topic of abortions. I was surprised, but definitely not in a bad way.
Boss Huller (Emil Jannings) is an artist at the circus together with his wife (Maly Delschaft), but after an accident he started to stay away from the trapeze. When young woman Bertha-Marie (Lya De Putti) is brought to the circus because she has debts she can’t pay otherwise, she finds a bed with the family Huller. It doesn’t take long until she and Boss fall in love and Boss uproots his entire life for her. But things are not headed for a happy end.
Varieté is not only an excellent film, combined with the soundtrack by The Tiger Lillies, it makes for an utterly fantastic, riveting evening.
The Doorman (Emil Jannings) has been working in the big hotel for a very long time and he takes a lot of pride in his job. But he is also getting old. After carrying a particularly heavy suitcase, he has to take a break – which the Hotel Manager (Hans Unterkircher) sees. He decides that the Doorman isn’t up to the task anymore and that he should do something less strenuous, so he makes him washroom clerk. But the Doorman can’t handle the demotion this means and starts to unravel.
The last F.W. Murnau/Emil Jannings cooperation I saw (Faust) already blew me away, but this film blew me even further (I should make a project or something of watching all their stuff). Both the story and Jannings’ acting had me completely in their grip and I could still cry when I think about it.