Example: Die freudlose Gasse

From filmstandards.org

From the TC 372 Workshop Compendium

Working from original sources

The scenario

<mediaplayer image='http://filmstandards.org/media/joyless-init-img.png'>http://filmstandards.org/media/joyless-commented.flv</mediaplayer>
Compiled from DVD: Navarre Drama Classics Vol.7, Cat.No. 1630.

Let us assume the following: A DVD copy of a film arrives in the archive. Neither the provenance nor the label gives any clue other than that this may be a version of Die freudlose Gasse, directed by G.W. Pabst in 1925.

Since the copy is viewable, we can inspect its contents and make some observations. Our observations will guide us in the descision whether to treat this as a separate cinematographic work, as a variant of Die freudlose Gasse, or merely as a new manifestation of the initial release.


Observation Relevant to Action Rationale

Not the initial distributor


New manifestation

Could be just a copy for foreign distribution.

Distribution title different from original

Manifestation or Variant

New manifestation, possibly new variant

New title alone would not justify a new variant.

Mentions a soundtrack, original is known to be mute


New variant

A major addition.

Introductory text must have been written several years after initial release


Possibly new film work

Could be a "film about a film". However, this text and added music appear to be the only major additions.

Text on a sign explained on an inserted image


New variant

Minor addition, common in foreign distributions, not enough to justify a new work.

Soundtrack clearly not from pre-1950


New variant (of a variant?)

No information about how the soundtrack differs from the initial (analog) release of the variant. Conjecture alone may not justify a further variant.

Intertitles replaced by translations


New variant

Translation alone does not (intentionally) alter the artistic content. Therefore, no new work.

Tinting too homogenous for an original. Must have been applied electronically.


New manifestation

Uniform monochrome tinting is a minor change.

Total duration just 60 minutes, i.e. less than half of the original.


New variant

Apparently an abridged version, but neither a trailer nor an excerpt.


Die freudlose Gasse was produced in 1925 and entered German distribution in early 1926. The present variant must have been issued some time after 1928 (when the distribution company was founded) or 1929 (when sound equipment became available in many cinemas), more likely in the early 1930s. It has been edited with the focus on a single actress, Greta Garbo, leaving out more than half of the initial content.

It could be argued that this is predominantly a hommage to Greta Garbo, using material from Die freudlose Gasse. If this were the case, then it would qualify as a film work in it own right. However, none of the additions and omissions indicate that it was the intention of the publisher to create a new cinematographic work.

In summary, what we have here is a variant of Die freudlose Gasse, manufactured in Great Britain after the introduction of sound film. At present, we know nothing about the initial manifestation of this variant (e.g. format, soundtrack, tinting). Since the initial release of the variant cannot have been a digital one, we must assume the existence of at least two manifestations (of which the first one may be lost and the second one is the digital publication).

Further evidence

<mediaplayer image='http://filmstandards.org/media/freudlose-fa1.jpg'>http://filmstandards.org/media/freudlose-fa1.flv</mediaplayer>
Excerpt from DVD: Die freudlose Gasse. Wien: Verlag filmarchiv austria, 2008. ISBN13: 978-3-901932-94-6

Here is an excerpt from a DVD edition of Die freudlose Gasse prepared and published by Filmarchiv Austria.

This film has been subject to several censorship cuts, both in Austria and in Germany. Unfortunately, the DVD edition gives no information about which of these cuts have been reverted from archival material and where this release differs from the uncensored original.

The sequence shown here is missing from the British version described above.

Encoding our findings


We have identified two further variants of Die freudlose Gasse. Using the EN 15907 XML schema, we can describe these as additional instances of the Variant entity.

Here is a transformed view and the raw XML encoding of our example.

References and Materials: Die freudlose Gasse

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