The Docks of New York

The Docks of New York ★★★★★

Beautifully made and artistically striking, the film visually brings together many elements of German expressionist cinema, its lighting is expressive and the atmosphere created has a dreamlike quality. Josef von Sternberg's masterpiece is about an American steamship docking in New York harbor, the stokers have one night off before sailing tomorrow morning. The night is spent in a bar, George Bancroft plays stoker Bill Roberts who saves a prostitute from attempted suicide and the two fall in love. The romance is gloriously simple and the great thing is that they never go overboard in showing more than necessary, Sternberg treats the couple with great sympathy giving us a calm poetry in their emotions. Most of the movie takes place in a bar, full of energy, vivid and detailed, the comedy that comes out of the situations created are completely simple as I said and I repeat there are never any excesses in dealing with the moments in the plot. Apart from its beautifully simple plot it employs ingenious shots to sustain the emotions from close-ups to smooth camera movements, nowadays the movie for many will be predictable but if you manage to get involved and find yourself in its images of the Docks of New York it will be a short but unforgettable experience.

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