Joyless Street (May 18, 1925)
Released on May 18, 1925: In one of her first motion pictures, young Greta Garbo gets a job as a prostitute to survive in poverty stricken Vienna after World War I.
Directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Written by Hugo Bettauer and Willy Haas.
The Actors: Asta Nielsen (Maria Lechner), Greta Garbo (Greta Rumfort), Agnes Esterhazy (Regina Rosenow), Werner Krauss (Metzger von Melchiorstrasse), Henry Stuart (Egon Stirner), Einar Hanson (Lieutenant Davis), Gregori Chmara (Kellner), Karl Etlinger (Max Rosenow), Ilka Gruning (Frau Rosenow), Jaro Furth (Hofrat Fumfort), Renate Brausewetter (Frau), Mario Cusmich (Oberst Irving), Maria Forescu (Frau), Robert Garrison (Don Alfonso Canez), Valeska Gert (Frau Greifer), Tamara Geva (Lia Leid), Max Kohlhase (Marias Vater), Krafft-Raschig (American soldier), Lya Mara (unknown), Edna Markstein (Frau Merkel), Alexander Murski (Doctor Leid), Loni Nest (Rosa Rumfort), Ivan Petrovich (unknown), Raskatoff (Trebitsch), Otto Reinwald (unknown), Grafin Tolstoi (Fraulein Henriette), Sylvia Torf (Marias Mutter), Hertha von Walther (Else).
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If you won a fortune in a lottery . . . . would you take the lump sum option, or regular payments over a long period of years? And, more importantly . . . do you think that you would be as wealthy, more wealthy, or back into a life of less twenty years later? In this early Greta Garbo classic, we find Greta, her younger sister, and retired Papa living in poverty after the ravaging events of World War I. But Papa is about to strike it rich! He walks downtown to get his monthly pension money which is barely enough to live on, and discovers that if he chooses, he can have all of his pension money right now, on the spot . . . in cash! He is suddenly wealthy! That night at home the wine flows, there is meat on the dinner table, and he tells young Greta to go down the street and buy a nice new coat. They will be rich forever, because Papa got a hot tip about a coal mine stock that is sure to grow, and he has bought all the shares he could . . . on margin . . . so that he could multiply his money faster.
When I was a young pup selling life insurance for the New York Life company, I worked in the same office as legendary salesman Ben Feldman. Mr. Feldman had a stuttering problem, and to minimize it he memorized and quoted many 'sayings' that he could roll off his tongue with ease. One of his sayings that I have never forgotten is probably not perfect advice about money, but good advice, just the same. He said something like this: "The only guaranteed way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket."
Of course in our movie the stock that Papa buys heads straight down, and Papa is forced to turn over $60 to the stock agent to pay off the debt that he incurred when he bought the stock on margin. Greta suggests that they rent out a room in their house to a pair of American soldiers, and she uses the rent money to pay Papa's debt. But bad events still follow the family, and soon Greta is forced to take a job at the local Cabaret where the girls are scantily clad and very friendly. When the American soldier visits the Cabaret and spots Greta, the friendship that she had been nurturing with him was instantly destroyed, and it looks pretty bad for Greta.
Greta Garbo in Joyless Street
Greta Garbo and Alexander Murski