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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Mike A's comment below provides the perfect word to describe this: fluidity. It's a von Sternberg staple and is on full display here. The photography is nothing short of spectacular. Some story limitations hold this one back from being among von Sternberg's very best, but it's still a gorgeous film and a must-see as a masterclass in tasteful direction.
A really beautifully made film with gorgeous black and white cinematography and a rather tired and unconvincing romance between two people so completely ill-maatched that they can't do anything other than wind up together. Some nice flourishes along the way, though. Interesting to see Betty Compson deliver the same performance that Marlene Dietrich would be delivering a few years later.
Misty, sensual, alluring, and slightly melancholic. The story is undeniably simple, and the progress of the main couple's relationship is kind of absurd, but von Sternberg's visual style makes this a memorable romance. The docks is presented as an almost otherworldly place where the usual conventions don't apply. There's also the absence of sappiness, which in my book is laudable.
Brilliant. Josef von Sternberg was a master. The excellence of his style can be detected in lesser films such as Blonde Venus, but leaves you awe in The Docks of New York. It succeeds in just about every department - from the steamy, mysterious compositions, through to it's rich comment on working class life and the dangers of taking responsibility lightly. It's all about love and commitment, and it works perfectly.
Encore une exceptionnelle composition de George Bancroft, époustouflante incarnation d'une "brute au grand coeur", dans une rigoureuse et audacieuse réalisation qui oscille entre mélodramatiques échouages affectifs, impressionnant réalisme maritime et poétiques élancées visuelles...
A rather ridiculous plot saved by the stunning cinematography and the surprisingly entertaining performances by its cast (especially the women; Betty Compson and Olga Baclanova are both quite touching and intriguing in their respective roles).