G.W. Pabst's 1925 film made a star of Greta Garbo, who was second billed but easily stole the show from the ostensible lead, Asta Neilsen. The picture belongs to the realist phase of expressionism, adapting the striking visual techniques of the movement to a more or less accurate portrait of the despair, poverty, and general social disruption of the postwar years in central Europe. Despite Garbo, it's heavy going—an official classic that hasn't quite earned the title.
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