Monday, March 24, 2008

The Blue Angel (1930)

Marlene Dietrich became an immediate international star on the strength of her performance as the temptress Lola Frohlich in Josef von Sternberg's classic tale of love and obsession. Professor Immanuel Rath (Emil Jannings) is a strict and humorless schoolmaster who is shocked when he discovers the boys in his class have been spending their time at a sleazy cabaret called The Blue Angel, where an entertainer named Lola (Dietrich) keeps the men in thrall and sells suggestive postcards of herself. Rath goes to the club in hopes of catching his students and giving them a severe dressing-down, but he instead finds himself entranced by the carefree atmosphere of the club, and is struck by Lola's earthy, sensual beauty. Rath finds himself strongly attracted to Lola, and she later entertains him in her dressing room. When word of Rath's infatuation with Lola spreads to his students, he is taunted mercilessly, and eventually Rath is dismissed from the school. While Lola agrees to marry Rath, she shows little affection for him and delights in humiliating him, making him her servant and forcing him to play a clown in her stage show. The Blue Angel was shot in both German and English language versions; the German is preferable, as most of the cast were obviously more expert in that tongue. Dietrich introduced her theme song, "Falling In Love Again", in this picture. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
Running Time: 106 mins
The Blue Angel (1930)
This was the English version from Blockbuster. The Blue Angel bar also had a larger than lifelike bare-breasted mermaid where Rath also spends the night in Lola's room up the circular staircase. The "eventually Rath is dismissed" is actually in the first outbreak in class with the students putting Graffiti on the chalkboard of Rath and Lola. When Rath proposes, Lola laughs hysterically like a hyena but does put the engagement ring on right away-kind of confusing signals.

The scenes of Rath and the boys hiding out in the dressing rooms is quite amusing and funny. More of the slapstick comedy that US films have mastered.

No comments: