(aka 'Der Polizeiwachtmeister und die Diamantenelse')

directed by Joe May
Germany 19


One of the last great German Expressionist films of the silent era, Joe May's Asphalt is a love story set in the traffic-strewn Berlin of the late 1920s. Starring the delectable Betty Amann in her most famous leading role, Asphalt is a luxuriously produced Ufa classic where tragic liaisons and fatal encounters are shaped alongside the constant roar of traffic.
A well-dressed lady thief (Betty Amann) steals a precious stone from a jewellery shop. The aged jeweller prefers to let the young woman go, but the policeman who catches her explains he is obliged to pursue the case further. She tries to seduce the policeman (Gustav Fröhlich), and he gradually succumbs to her charms, but her criminal background dooms their relationship when an argument leads to murder.

Betty Amann's salacious sensuality, May's grand direction, the spectacular sets by Erich Kettelhut, and the photography of Günther Rittau make this largely unknown film a major rediscovery. Until recently, Asphalt was available only in a shortened version with English-language intertitles. In 1993 the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek (Berlin) discovered a print of Asphalt at the Gosfilmofond archive in Moscow which appeared to have been struck from the original negative. The chronology of scenes in this print differs from existing versions and there are extra scenes together with the hitherto-unknown German intertitles.

Born Julius Otto Mandl in Vienna, 1880, Joe May is best remembered today for his two-part Das indische Grabmal [The Indian Tomb], co-scripted by the young Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou. He moved to London in 1933, then Hollywood, and was widely regarded as having discovered Lang, von Harbou and E. A. Dupont. May was one of the most productive cineastes of the silent screen and The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present his masterpiece Asphalt for the first time on DVD anywhere in the world.

From the Masters of Cinema Website located HERE


Theatrical Release: March 12th, 1929 - Germany

Reviews      DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Eureka (Master of Cinema # 7) - Region 2 - PAL

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Distribution Eureka Video - Region 1- NTSC
Runtime 1:28:45 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: ? mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
Audio New orchestral score by Karl-Ernst Sasse (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Eureka Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• New restored transfer
• Original German intertitles with optional English subtitles
• Sumptuous new orchestral score by Karl-Ernst Sasse
• New English subtitle translation
• 16-page booklet with a new essay by film historian R. Dixon Smith

DVD Release Date: March 21st, 2005

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12




This looks very good. Similar to the strong Michael transfer from Eureka in October of last year - but quite possibly superior. I see sharpness, clarity, grain and good contrast. The audio is a huge plus, the newly recoded full orchestral score is quite stunning. Congratulations to Eureka and Masters of Cinema for delivering this must-see film to the public. No digital extras save a gallery - but there are some complete liner notes from R. Dixon Smith. Another silent masterpiece to own on DVD. out of     

Gary W. Tooze


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Intertitle Sample



Quite an interesting turn with the intertitles/subtitles. The English subs are removable, and they include a semi-transparent layer which dulls the German intertitles underneath. When you remove the English intertitles, it removes the semi-transparent layer also. It's a great system, I have never seen it before! -- The reason (I surmise) is that sometimes the German intertitles cover the whole screen, and they'd clash with the English subtitles at the bottom.


Subtitle sample



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DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Eureka Video - Region 1- NTSC


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