The Joyless Street ★★★★½

The complex plot involves several, loosely connected, stories about the denizens of Melchior Street, Vienna, most of whom are very poor and hungry. Unknown to many of the residents, a dress shop conceals a night club where rich men enjoy the favors of young women.

Asta Nielsen, estranged from her parents, has become a sex worker at the night club. She is pursued by a rich South American. Her cold manner enflames him, but she does not respond to his passionate advances. Nielsen is in love with a bank clerk who does not return her feelings. Jealous, she murders a woman whom she sees with him.

Greta Garbo, the daughter of a counselor, tries to avoid working at the club, but she needs money for food for her father and sister. An American social worker who loves Garbo saves her from this fate.

Destitute parents of a baby live in an attic; the mother gives herself to the butcher to obtain meat. The butcher refuses to give her more meat, and she kills him.

The residents of Melchior Street learn about the hidden club, attack, and burn it.

After WWI, the economy of Germany fell into a depression. Many citizens suffered depravation and want as depicted in this bleak film, directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst.