Else is a bad woman. Insanely beautiful, she can charm the pants off of any man. In a matter of seconds she can get a diamond she wants, out of trouble, into bed with a man, or anything else she desires just by fluttering her eyelashes. Albert is an upstanding gentleman. Controlling traffic as a part of his policeman duties, he stands up for the wronged man, pursues justice to the letter of the law and kisses his mother on the head every morning. He is the perfect man to be baited by Else. He quickly falls for her as he is tasked to take her in for stealing. He gets seduced in a very sexy scene and comes home a dejected young man. However he cannot stay away from this dangerous woman. She brings him deeper and deeper into the underworld she inhabits until he ends up murdering her ex lover. He confesses to the murder and seen as condemned until she shows up again. She tells the story, the true story, demonstrating her surprising affection for him and she takes the fall for him thus redeeming her in the viewer’s eyes.

This is the simple story of Asphalt. However simple it is, it is also engaging. Else is a wonder to look at and is light in such a way that highlights her natural beauty. She seduces in such a way that makes her endearing, at least to me. She is the fascinating character of the film and Albert pales in comparison. If in this present culture, he would be considered a sissy. He lives with his parents and does his duty in every respect. After he has sex with Else for the first time, he is so distraught that he can’t eat or even, gasp, go to church. He is not married to her! She is a criminal! He was seduced! How awful.

By the time this film was released, silent pictures had been produced with a vigor in Germany for over a decade. Directed by a sure hand, the film knows where to linger on a face and when to explain the plot in text. In fact most of the time there are no text titles which is nice to see. All action and emotion can be conveyed by the placement of the camera in just the right area. A good example of this is the scene where Else finally gets a hold of Albert for the first time. She builds him up into sympathy for her by the crying, the desperate explanations and gets him to drop her off at her apartment. She then explains that she is so worn out that she must sleep. He gets tired of her antics and decides to just leave when she runs to him in a slinky dress. She jumps on him and whispers that she likes him. She holds his face inches away from his lips as he holds onto her to keep her from falling. Slowly she goes in for the kiss and he accepts. An utterance of three words was all that was needed in order to convey the seduction. The rest is like a ballet. It is quite beautiful to witness.


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