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Diary of a Lost Girl

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Diary of a Lost Girl
Directed byG. W. Pabst
Screenplay byRudolf Leonhard[1]
Based onTagebuch einer Verlorenen
by Margarete Böhme[1]
Produced byG. W. Pabst[1]
CinematographySepp Allgeier[1]
  • Hom-Film AG

Pabst-Film GmbH[1]

Release dates
  • 12 September 1929 (1929-09-12) (Vienna)
  • 15 October 1929 (1929-10-15) (Berlin)
Running time
110 minutes[1]
  • Silent film

Diary of a Lost Girl (German: Tagebuch einer Verlorenen) is a 1929 German silent film directed by G. W. Pabst and starring American silent star Louise Brooks. The film is shot in black and white, and diverse versions of the film range from 79 minutes to 116 minutes in length. This was Brooks' second and last film with Pabst, and like their previous collaboration, Pandora's Box, many film historians consider it to be a classic. It is based on the controversial and bestselling 1905 novel of the same name by Margarete Böhme. The novel had been previously adapted by Richard Oswald as Diary of a Lost Woman.


Brooks as Thymian in the brothel scene

Thymian Henning, the innocent, naive daughter of pharmacist Robert Henning, is puzzled when their housekeeper, Elisabeth, leaves suddenly on the day of Thymian's confirmation. It turns out that her father has made Elisabeth pregnant. Elisabeth's body is brought to the pharmacy later that day, an apparent suicide by drowning, upsetting Thymian.

Robert Henning's assistant, Meinert, promises to explain it all to Thymian later that night, but instead rapes her while she is unconscious, and she also becomes pregnant. Though Thymian refuses to name the illegitimate baby's father, her relatives find out by reading her diary and decide that the best solution is for her to marry Meinert. When Thymian refuses because she does not love him, they give the baby to a midwife and send Thymian to a strict reformatory for wayward girls run by a tyrannical woman and her tall, bald assistant.

Meanwhile, Thymian's friend, Count Osdorff, is cast off and left penniless by his rich uncle, also Count Osdorff, after he proves unsuccessful at every school and trade. Thymian begs her friend to persuade her father to take her back, but Thymian's father has married his new housekeeper, Meta, and Meta wants no rivals for his affection. Rebelling against the reformatory's rigid discipline, Thymian and her friend Erika escape with Osdorff's help. When Thymian goes to see her baby, she learns the child has recently died. After wandering the streets despondent, she reunites with Erika, who is working in a small upper-class brothel. With no skills, Thymian also becomes a prostitute.

By chance, Thymian encounters her father, Meta, and Meinert in a nightclub. Her father is shocked when he realises what she has become, and Meta and Meinert prevent them from speaking by quickly ushering Robert out of the nightclub. Three years later, her father dies. With the expectation of a large inheritance, Thymian decides to start a new life. Her friends at the brothel suggest she obtain a new identity by marrying Osdorff. After thinking about it, he agrees. At the lawyer's office, Meinert buys Thymian's interest in the pharmacy, making her rich. However, when she learns that Meinert is throwing Meta and her two children out on the street, Thymian gives Meta the money so that her young half-sister will not suffer the same fate as her.

Osdorff, who had been counting on the money to rebuild a life for himself, throws himself out the window to his death when Thymian tells him what she has done. The uncle, grief-stricken, decides to make amends by taking care of Thymian. He introduces her to his cousin as his niece, Countess Osdorff. In a strange twist of fate, Thymian is invited to become a director of the same reformatory where she herself was once held. When Erika, her old friend, is brought before the directors as an "especially difficult case", Thymian denounces the school and takes Erika out of the room. Count Osdorff follows the two women; but before leaving he pauses, turns back toward his startled cousin, and declares: "A little more love and no-one would be lost in this world!"





Diary of a Lost Girl premiered in Vienna, Austria on 12 September 1929.[1] It had its German premiere in Berlin on 15 October 1929.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Tagebuch einer Verlorenen". Filmportal.de. Retrieved 15 December 2019.


  • Campbell, Russell (2006). Marked Women: Prostitutes and Prostitution in the Cinema. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-21253-7.