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1 review, 1 rating

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Crime and Punishment
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by Jay Seaver

"Early Lorre"
4 stars

After three weeks of all-Dietrich, all the time, the Brattle's von Sternberg series ended on a couple of the director's other films. This one also serves as an entry in the Peter Lorre centennial series.

Lorre is fun to watch; he isn't subtle, but he picks exactly the right kind of emoting for each moment. That's a valuable skill for this movie, where a large Russian novel is being crammed into a ninety-minute movie. Also a joy to watch is Edward Arnold as Inspector Porfiry, who is charged with investigating the murder committed by Lorre's Roderick Raskolnikov, a student of criminology. He doesn't initially suspect, but as guilt and paranoia start to work on Roderick...

Well, even if other audience members like myself haven't read the novel, it's not hard to trace the path of the narrative. But there's 30s-style banter, melodrama, and even some romance involving Mr. Lorre. Von Sternberg tells the story with great efficiency, not wasting a single shot, and sharp wit. I've got no doubt that huge chunks of the book were jettisoned, but what remains is a focused, entertaining movie. It's one of Lorre's first English-language roles, and a strong starring performance from one of the greatest character actors of all time.

I'm not sure how good an adaptation this is, but it is a pretty good movie, with some noteworthy talent.

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originally posted: 06/27/04 10:12:05
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User Comments

5/08/09 brian Amazing. They turned a very long Great Novel (my fave) into a decent 90-minute adaptation. 5 stars
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