3.5 The original version isn't a masterpiece like Fassbinder's, but it is still good. Excellent cinematography, loaded with wonderful street scenes of 1931 Berlin. Worth a watch for that alone, or if you just want to see more of Franz Biberkopf.
Taking equal influence as a city symphony, this succeeds more than Fass at recreating a sense of Franz's struggle at a communal level, shared - even more interesting because it's not a period reconstruction. The plot can be quite mechanistic, doing disservice to Reinhold especially, but a consequence of its length. 2.5
(...)Wir wissen, was wir wissen, wir habens teuer bezahlen müssen." Bieberkopf verschwindet in der Menge, doch ist das für einen Heinrich George überhaupt möglich? Der sucht den grossen Auftritt und da haben wir das Dilemma wieder. (Dazu gibts unsere Film List Deutschland Filmauswahl 1930-33 auf cinegeek.de
Reducing this gigantic book material to only 1,5-hour-long film could be a total disaster but fortunately Alfred D. took part in writing of the script and the result is more than satisfying. Surprisingly awesome shots and editing!
Surprisingly not all that bad. It's interesting how one director in 1931 tried to tell the same story in 90 minutes that Fassbinder did in 15 hours. Although, I think if Criterion had not included it in their release of Fassbinder's, we probably wouldn't remember this film at all.