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4.0
468 Ratings

The Docks of New York

Directed by Josef von Sternberg
United States, 1928
Drama, Crime, Romance

Synopsis

Fog-enshrouded cinematography by Harold Rosson, expressionist set design by Hans Dreier, and sensual performances by Bancroft and Compson make this one of the legendary director’s finest works, and one of the most exquisitely crafted films of its era.

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The Docks of New York Directed by Josef von Sternberg

Critics reviews

Evelyn Brent, who had a long but largely undistinguished career in Hollywood, is no doubt remembered most for her roles in these three von Sternberg silents. Her performance here gains our considerable sympathy for “the Girl” in a remarkably short time, and it has to–the film is only 75 minutes long and she spends her first onscreen appearances unconscious after her near-drowning.
December 28, 2018
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The actual interaction between Mae and Bill only amounts to part of why the romance of The Docks of New York feels eternal. Sternberg, the eternal stylist, crafts a vision of the New York grounded in smoke and dirt. From the early moments of the inside of the stocker’s kingdom where Bill shovels coal to the crowded bars filled with smoke, it is still clearly a set, but one constructed with expressionistic flair.
August 04, 2016
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Like many other films from ’28, it registers as an incidental masterpiece, a thoroughly private creation that happened to use studio resources to produce a deceptively non-narrative mood piece. It possesses a rare, almost humorless, interest in recording the weathered wood of the planks, the sinews of the nets, and above all, the opacity of the fog.
January 25, 2013
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