© 2014 William Ahearn

Backstairs (Germany) 1921

Directed by Leopold Jessner and Paul Leni and designed by Leni and Karl Görge with a script by Carl Meyer and cinematography by Willy Hameister and Karl Hasselmann, the story is of a housemaid (Henny Porten, who also co-produced), a mailman (Fritz Kortner) and a craftsman (William Dieterle).

The maid is in love with the craftsman, the mailman is in love with the maid and the craftsman’s love letters to the maid are being intercepted by the mailman, who begins replacing the real letters with forgeries. Most of the action takes place on a set of back stairs and the whole sordid story is told within 40 minutes. One of the first silent films not to use intertitles. A short and not even close to sweet tale from the Weimar era.