This German exercise in "realism" focuses on two families from two entirely different social classes. The wealthier family squanders its money on creature comforts and sensual pleasures, while the poorer clan holds fast to such values as hard work and virtue. Sure enough, the daughter of the rich family comes to grief because of parental neglect and "mixed messages," while the son of the poor family succeeds in life. Many of the more potent dramatic scenes were conveyed symbolically, with generous utilization of double- and triple-exposure photography. The film's surprisingly brief 70-minute running time suggested that Youth Astray was judiciously edited before its American release.
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