The Docks of New York

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PrintCity Lights Film Series

The Docks of New York

  • 1928
  • Directed By: Josef von Sternberg
  • Rated Not Rated
  • Drama
  • 76 Minutes
  1. Saturday, March 30, 2013 3:00 p.m.
Still image from the film Docks of New York
In Josef von Sternberg’s dark melodrama, rough-hewn ship stoker Bill Roberts (George Bancroft) falls for tortured dance-hall girl Mae (Betty Compson) after saving her from a suicide attempt. Cinematographer Harold Rossen’s (The Wizard of Oz) haunting photography creates an expressionistic haze that looms over their love affair, foreshadowing Mae’s anguish when she discovers that Bill’s promises of marriage and redemption are less than genuine. Shot on location around New York City’s waterfront, the beautifully crafted film is oft-considered von Sternberg’s masterpiece of the silent era. Special thanks to the UCLA Film and Television Archive. (35mm presentation)


Live piano accompaniment provided by Philip Carli.