The Blue Angel


also known as: Der Blaue Engel

directed by Josef von Sternberg, 107 minutes

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"...will always have a place in film history as the movie that brought Marlene Dietrich to international stardom." - Roger Ebert

Emil Jannings, the quintessential German expressionist actor, stars as Professor Rath, the sexually-repressed instructor of a boys' prep school. After learning of the pupils' infatuation with French postcards depicting a local nightclub songstress, he decides to personally investigate the source of such indecency. But as soon as he enters the shadowy Blue Angel nightclub and steals one glimpse of the smoldering Lola-Lola (Marlene Dietrich), commanding the stage in top hat, stockings and bare thighs, Rath's self-righteous piety is crushed. He finds himself fatefully seduced by the throaty voice of the vulgar siren. Consumed by desire and tormented by his rigid propriety, Professor Rath allows himself to be dragged down a path of personal degradation. Like many early sound films, THE BLUE ANGEL was initially shot in multiple versions for different territories. This is the German language version (though there also exists an English language version as well).

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2 members found this review helpful Created about 5 years ago.

Josef von Sternberg's dark masterpiece, "Blue Angel," is an ideal crucible for viewing the cultural tensions of Germany's Weimar Republic. In the film, as in real life, the bursting, restless energy of the radical, bohemian art scene clashed head-on with the rigid morality of icy, old-world Protestantism. The great Emil Jannings plays a fusty, blustering school teacher who trails his errant students to a den of vice -- a dance hall whose star performer is Lola-Lola, a laughing, teasing temptress played by Marlene Dietrich, who easily subdues the pompous professor, and enslaves him without hardly lifting a finger. The film is brilliant in that it was an emblem of Weimar's cultural licentiousness, showing graphically (for the time) the scandalous, vibrantly sexual night life of Berlin, even as it ends up as a morality play. The professor, initially an object of irrelevance and ridicule, swiftly slides into a pit of subjugation and depravity, ending up as a broken man living outside the bounds of the "decent" society he once upheld. Thus Von Sternberg is allowed to titillate his audience while, on the surface at least, reflecting the moralism of the traditional mainstream. Aside from the fascinating political and social content, the movie is brilliantly constructed, beautifully shot and, perhaps most importantly, was one of the early vehicles that made Dietrich -- still voluptuous and youthful in her late twenties -- into an international star. A great film, not to be missed. (Jose Seis)

1 member found this review helpful Created almost 3 years ago.

What many people do not know about this movie is that the great German-Jewish Actor Emil Jannings, who won Oscars in Hollywood for roles in the silent movies, 'The Way of All Flesh,' and 'The Last Command,' was among those sent to the Terezen Concentration Camp where Goebbels filmed a movie called 'Terezienstadt: The Fuhrer gives the Jews a City' (1944). The prisoners were well dressed and were shown eating big meals, listening to an orchestras, dancing, sleeping in real beds. The children were shown the same. They were having classes and playing with big toys. All were well-fed and happy. After the film wrapped, everyone in, or who worked on the film, were sent to Auschwitz, and most died in the gas chamber there. Jannings survived, possibly through intervention by Max Reinhardt, but was ill when found by the Allies, and he died of cancer in 1950. So, see this great film and see Jannings and Dietrich in one of their best performances. It got them both to Hollywood. Unfortunately, when talking pictures arrived, Jannings style of acting was no longer viable. He went back to Germamy where he was later arrested and sent to the concentration camp to star in 'Terezienstadt'. Yes, Austrian Max Reinhardt also helped save the Von Trapp family, and Jannings died in Austria.

1 member found this review helpful Created 7 months ago.

Coming out of the expressionist era, professor Rath (Emil Jannings ), still exhibited some of his mnemonic traits. This transition from silent to sound was a challenge for him ( my opinion ). Dietrich had her baby fat with her, later lost it.

Top reviewer
Created 4 months ago.

Stuffed-shirt bachelor professor Emil Jannings doesn't so much fall in love with Marlene Dietrich here as he does come down with a sweaty, tingling, sleepless case of raw LUST. That can happen to a chaste man. He has no defense against the draw of a woman whose every leg cross and bat of an eye can cause a scandal. She's a cabaret singer with the kind of sultry presence that glows in the smokiest room. She performs sentimental songs in as little clothing as the 1930 screen would allow and she's clearly no virgin, God bless her. Dietrich is callous and not innocent, but Jannings is largely a victim of his own weakness. As in many films made for adults, there is no one villain here, just a toxic relationship that should never have happened. Great director Josef von Sternberg gives it to us as a German Expressionist dream in a cruel and sumptuous nightworld. It's beautiful, but not pretty. In the end, sexual repression doesn't work. Never has. It only makes people weirder.

Created 10 months ago.

it,s is just so GOOD! says Yes your Bruno in Love!

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