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From its elaborate and stylish opening scenes, Asphalt immediately establishes itself as a startling cinematic achievement of Weimar cinema. Gustav Frölich, best known as the young protagonist of Metropolis, stars as a strait-laced traffic cop who has the simple task of escorting a diamond thief to the police station. However, Holk’s routine assignment becomes complicated when he discovers the criminal in his custody: the exotic and beautiful Else (Betty Amann). Working alongside cinematographer Günther Rittau (The Blue Angel), director Joe May (The Indian Tomb) takes a simple melodrama and transforms it into a masterwork, with a brooding visual style, nuanced performances, and psychological complexity.