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Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)

Tagebuch einer Verlorenen (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 1930 (USA)
After falling pregnant to a pharmacist and refusing to marry, a young woman is thrown from her home and sent to a strict girls' reform school.




Cast overview, first billed only:
Louise Brooks ... Thymian
André Roanne ... Count Nicolas Osdorff
Josef Rovenský Josef Rovenský ... Robert Henning
Fritz Rasp ... Meinert
Vera Pawlowa Vera Pawlowa ... Aunt Frieda
Franziska Kinz ... Meta
Arnold Korff ... Elder Count Osdorff
Andrews Engelmann ... The director of the establishment
Valeska Gert ... The director's wife
Edith Meinhard Edith Meinhard ... Erika
Sybille Schmitz ... Elisabeth
Sig Arno ... Guest (as Siegfried Arno)
Kurt Gerron ... Dr. Vitalis
Hedy Krilla ... (as Hedwig Schlichter)
Hans Casparius Hans Casparius


After falling pregnant to a pharmacist and refusing to marry, a young woman is thrown from her home and sent to a strict girls' reform school.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This film has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 8 critic reviews. See more »


In the English subtitles, the title of the film is "Dairy," not "Diary." Well, there is a cow-milking scene. See more »


Elder Count Osdorff: With a little more love, no one on this earth would ever be lost!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Various heavily cut versions have been around for years. Some "lost" footage was found and reinserted for the release of a complete (104 minutes) restored version in 1984. See more »

User Reviews

Feels unnervingly modern
15 May 2016 | by tomgillespie2002See all my reviews

It isn't difficult to see why Georg Wilhelm Pabst's Diary of a Lost Girl caused a bit of a headache for the censors back in 1929. Even for a movie made during the Weimar Republic era, a revolutionary time for cinema when directors were consistently pushing the boundaries with controversial tales of debauchery and Germany's seedy underbelly, the themes and social insight feel unnervingly modern. Teaming up once again with his muse Louise Brooks, the Kansas-born starlet plays Thymian, the naive daughter of a wealthy pharmacist who, in the opening scene, watches their maid leave the family home in shame when Thymian's father (Josef Rovensky) gets her pregnant.

Although it's clear to the audience, Thymian is puzzled as to why the girl has left. Her father's assistant, the creepy and much older Meinert (Fritz Rasp), invites her to the pharmacy that night on the promise to tell her everything, but instead takes advantage of the young girl and gets her pregnant. When the baby arrives, Thymian refuses to reveal who the father is but her family learn the truth from her diary, and insist that the two marry to avoid damage to the family's reputation. When she refuses, Thymian's baby is taken from her and she is packed off to a reformatory watched over by the intimidating director (Andrews Engelmann) and his tyrannical wife (Valeska Gert). After rebelling against the school, Thymian and a friend escape and join a brothel,

Like many films made during the Weimar era, Diary of a Lost Girl depicts the decay in almost every aspect of German society at the time. The lives of the rich are stripped bare, and their motivations are heavily questioned when the family send Thymian away not with her 'rehabilitation' in mind, but simply to save face. The reformatory itself is a cold and bleak place, where the director's wife bangs a rhythm for the inhabitants to rigidly eat their soup too. They are less concerned with helping the girls fit back into the society that has failed them, and more about satisfying their own sadistic desires. In one particularly effective close-up, the wife seems to be achieving some sort of sexual gratification from her monstrous behaviour.

The one place Thymian feels accepted on any sort of level is the brothel, a place where she can be herself without any kind of judgement or fear of social exile. While Thymian can at times be frustratingly naive and swoonish whenever she finds herself in the arms of a man, Louise Brooks delivers a tour de force performance that helps the audience maintain sympathy for her put-upon character, even when the film is at its most melodramatic. Even though the film is now 87 years old, Brooks's acting feels completely modern. Where most silent actors switch between rigid and operatic in their performances, Brooks is naturalistic and subtle, making it clear just why Pabst was so eager to work with her again after Pandora's Box, made the same year.

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None | German

Release Date:

1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Diary of a Lost Girl See more »

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Technical Specs


| (restored) | (Kino Print)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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