When her father is killed by a group of Bolsheviks — among them her partisan lover, Andreas (Henning) — Jeanne Ney (Jehanne) returns to Paris and finds employment at her uncle’s detective agency. There she’s drawn into a twisty political intrigue involving murder, a missing diamond, and a shifty Russian expatriate (Rasp).
G.W. Pabst (“Pandora’s Box”) was a meticulous craftsman, and the sadly under-seen “Jeanne Ney” showcases his facility for striking compositions and bold uses of camera movement. The plot is gnarled and complicated, involving turn-of-the-century tumult in Russia and France, but the whorl of constantly moving images complements the expressive performances of Jehanne, Henning, Rasp, and Birgitte Helm (“Metropolis”), who plays a dull-witted blind girl. For “The Love of Jeanne Ney,” see this marvelous masterwork of early German cinema!