Most of the directorial efforts of German filmmaker Karl Grune have either been lost to posterity or obscured by their own lack of distinction. Not so Grune's 1923 masterpiece Die Strasse, released in English-speaking countries as The Street. A textbook example of post-expressionism, the film features Eugen Klopfer as a nondescript Berliner, stuck in what he considers a dull marriage. Klopfer escapes to The Street, which metaphorically represents unbridled freedom. Alas, he cannot cope with the dangers and challenges of the world outside his familiar surroundings, and after getting mixed up with crooks and gamblers he attempts suicide. Sadder, wiser, and more grateful, Klopfer heads back to the wearisome but safe cocoon of his own home. The Street was the vanguard of an important German silent-film genre known as the "street picture," which proved a fertile field for such directors as Pabst, Dupont and Murnau.
by Hal Erickson synopsis