Sex in Chains

Directed by William Dieterle

Year: 1928
Running Time: 86
Color Type: B&W
Country: Germany
Language: Silent w/English intertitles [audio]
Shop Home Video

Sex in Chains

Hans Heinrich von Twardowski
Paul Henckels
Mary Johnson
Gunnar Tolnæs
William Dieterle

Cinematographer Robert Lach
Writers Georg C. Claren and Herbert Juttke
Directed by William Dieterle

Brimming with visual invention and breathless erotic angst, Sex in Chains uniquely combines gorgeous cinematic craftsmanship with bold subject matter. Made at the peak of the German silent era, Sex in Chains defines the Weimar era artistic freedom that would shortly fall prey to the Nazis. An astonishing mixture of love story, socially conscious expose and lurid melodrama, Sex in Chains assuredly balances tender romance with candid erotica and uninhibited imagination with crisp realism. It's maybe the best silent film of its director and star Wilhelm Dieterle. He later became successful in Hollywood as William Dieterle, directing classics like The Life of Emile Zola and A Portrait of Jennie.

When Sommer (Dieterle) accidentally kills a nightclub patron harassing his wife Helene (Mary Johnson), he's sentenced to three years in prison. Inside prison, Sommer grapples with the realities of men separated from women but not from temptation, while outside Mary longs for her husband's reassuring caress. Denied the physical comfort promised in their marriage vows, the young newlyweds are driven to risk their future and find release where they can -- Sommer in the arms of a handsome fellow prisoner and Helene with the boss whose kindness becomes her only solace.

Remarkably at ease with his taboo subject matter, director Dieterle depicts the hothouse passions of Sex in Chains with ravishing black and white photography. Actor Dieterle gives a restrained, honest performance as a traditionally-minded young husband forced to test his marriage and his very sexuality. Though censored after its 1928 release, Sex in Chains has been restored to its original state-of-the-silent-film-art brilliance by the Filmmuseum Muenchen and is presented here for the first time on DVD.

Interested in bringing Sex in Chains to your school or library? If you'd like to have an in-class viewing, on-campus screening, or purchase the DVD for your library's collection, please contact Jeff Tamblyn or call (212) 629-6880 with your request.

Sex in Chains may also be available with Public Performance Rights (PPR) and Digital Site Licensing (DSL) for colleges and universities. To purchase the DVD with PPR or DSL, please contact Jeff Tamblyn or call (212) 629-6880. Click here to learn more at Kino Lorber Edu.

To read more about Kino Lorber Edu's terms of use and ordering information, visit Kino Lorber Edu.

Join the conversation
@KinoLorber on Oct. 22 2016 at 12:30pm
RT @SA_Drafthouse: Canada does horror, and we love it. With a brand new restoration courtesy of @KinoLorber! TICKETS to THE PIT: https://t…
@KinoLorber on Oct. 21 2016 at 4:33pm
RT @screening_room_: Reminder that we have a 2nd showing of Mayan-language hit Ixcanul at 1:15pm on Saturday for those who weren't able to…
@KinoLorber on Oct. 21 2016 at 4:32pm
RT @TOWERfilm: #Win tickets to @TOWERfilm in #NYC or #Austin today! Tweet a selfie with #TOWERtogether & who you'll bring. Tag @TOWERfilm h…
@KinoLorber on Oct. 21 2016 at 4:31pm
RT @BilgeEbiri: On the two very different movies battling each other in Gianfranco Rosi's (magnificent) FIRE AT SEA:
@KinoLorber on Oct. 21 2016 at 4:25pm
RT @nofilmschool: How Gianfranco Rosi made an anti-documentary: @KinoLorber
@KinoLorber on Oct. 21 2016 at 8:17am
RT @YorkshireTX: If you live in Austin, or you worry about gun violence, or you love documentaries, you need to see @TOWERfilm…
@KinoLorber on Oct. 21 2016 at 8:15am
RT @nytimes: "Fire at Sea" offers an impressionistic tour of Lampedusa, an island turned upside down by the migrant crisis…
@KinoLorber on Oct. 20 2016 at 5:56pm
Fire at Sea is a @nytimes Critics' Pick! “Fire at Sea” occupies your consciousness": Opens tomorrow w/dir. Q&As.
@KinoLorber on Oct. 20 2016 at 5:43pm
RT @BilgeEbiri: FIRE AT SEA is incredible, monumental, devastating, and must be seen.
@KinoLorber on Oct. 20 2016 at 3:31pm
#NY: Fire at Sea opens tomorrow at @IFCCenter & Lincoln Plaza. Dir. Gianfranco Rosi in person at both theatres to d…
Tweet Now!

Inquiries & Press

General Inquiries

Kino Lorber, Inc.
333 W. 39th St., Ste. 503
New York, NY 10018
Tel. (212) 629-6880
Tel. (800) 562-3330
Fax. (212) 714-0871

Press & Media

For publicity assistance and press inquiries please contact us by emailing or calling 212-629-6880.


Please visit our educational site at

For assistance with educational orders, please contact us at:

Fax: 212-714-0871