Friday, 21 May 2010
In the top ten of silent films just crying out for a proper DVD release (alongside "Beggars of Life") must come GW Pabst's "Abwege" (aka "The Devious Path"). Featuring the haunting presence of Brigitte Helm ("Metropolis'" robo-lady) and the doleful intensity of Gustav Diessl (doomed by Lulu in "Pandora's Box") this is a perfect example of Pabst in his prime using expressionist techniques to tell the story of a marriage on the rocks.
It has one of the best contemporary depictions of Weimar era decadence in the lengthy and, frankly quite saucy, nightclub sequence. "Oh my!" as Brooksie might say.
It also proves that, in some cases, silence works best. David Thomson may well have sensed movies just "waiting to speak" but this one couldn't be any more eloquent with sound.
Find it if you can and please, someone, release it on DVD!!
Update: You can view "Abwege" on youtube with English subtitles. Not as good as a DVD though is it?!