Review: ‘Crime and Punishment’

The murder of the miserly pawnbroker (Mrs Patrick Campbell in a ruthless, unsympathetic characterization) is the premeditated crime by Peter Lorre. Edward Arnold's old-fashioned police methods, combined with psychological auto-suggestion and ultimate self-destruction, is the reincarnation of the punishment. Both contribute capital performances.

The murder of the miserly pawnbroker (Mrs Patrick Campbell in a ruthless, unsympathetic characterization) is the premeditated crime by Peter Lorre. Edward Arnold’s old-fashioned police methods, combined with psychological auto-suggestion and ultimate self-destruction, is the reincarnation of the punishment. Both contribute capital performances.

Sometimes the situations get out of hand and even Sternberg’s directorial and camera genius can’t cope with them. Usually it’s a script deficiency [from the novel by Dostoievsky] when that occurs.

One is permitted to become a bit too conscious of the incongruity of a Bible-totin’ harlot, an ingenue of a prostie with a Dietrichesque physiognomy and hair-dress. When that realization comes, the audience starts thinking of the past Sternberg and Dietrich pictures. That’s when the too pretty Marian Marsh, as the St Petersburg streetwalker, doesn’t assist in the romance chores she’s been endowed to sustain.

Crime and Punishment

Production

Columbia. Director Josef von Sternberg; Producer B.P. Schulberg; Screenplay S.K. Lauren, Joseph Anthony; Camera Lucien Ballard; Music Arthur Honegger;; Art Director Stephen Goosson

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1935. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Edward Arnold Peter Lorre Marian Marsh Tala Birell Elisabeth Risdon Douglass Dumbrille
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