|6:30 p.m.||Crime and Punishment|
Josef von Sternberg (USA,1935)
Josef von Sternberg's studio-assigned adaptation of Dostoevsky's novel is often said by critics to "have little to do with Dostoevsky." With most of the tortured complexities of the novel stripped for the film version, the result is a clever, psychological murder mystery--one in which the murderer is known from the start. The burden of complexity is thus left to the character of Raskolnikov himself, and if, as Andrew Sarris asserts, "Von Sternberg has no genuine grasp of evil and criminality as facts of life and facets of character," the same cannot be said about Peter Lorre. His intelligent portrayal of the poor student who kills a pawnbroker and is haunted by the murder is skillfully countered by Edward Arnold's deceptively jovial rendition of the Inspector, Porfiry. Lucien Ballard's photography serves the psychological and the concrete over the spiritual in emphasizing Lorre's growing guilt and desire for redemption.
• Directed by Josef von Sternberg. Written by S. K. Lauren and Joseph Anthony, based on the novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Photographed by Lucien Ballard. With Peter Lorre, Edward Arnold, Marian Marsh, Tala Birell, Elizabeth Risdon. (1935, 90 mins, 35mm, Print from Columbia Classics)