I love Dietrich. She hated the Nazis and they hated her. And she was spectacular. This film launched Dietrich's career as a star in Europe. Blue Angel was directed by Josef Von Sternberg, who simultaneously made versions of the film in German and English. The plot features Lola, a nightclub singer who captivates the local youth with her blatant seductiveness. Professor Rath, an old bachelor from the town's university, turns up at the speakeasy to confront her about the effect she's having on his boys. However, he falls for her charm and continues to see Lola. The effects on his life and work are dramatic.
“A little flirting is all right, but always remember she’s a predator.”
The Blue Angel (Der Blaue Engel) is one of Germany’s most significant films. [....]
The Blue Angel was the first film that director Josef von Sternberg worked on with Marlene Dietrich. Their pairing is still regarded as one of the all time great director/actor collaborations in film history. Together they created Dietrich’s unique star persona, a mixture of masculinity and femininity, sensuality and stylised camp.
After The Blue Angel Sternberg and Dietrich would relocate to the USA to continue working together for 5 more years, making 6 more films – Morocco (1930), Dishonored (1931), Shanghai Express (1932), Blonde Venus (1932), The Scarlet Empress (1934) and The Devil Is a Woman (1935). Dietrich’s personae as a sex symbol for both men and women, straight and gay, would be cemented in a scene in Morocco where she performs dressed in a man’s tuxedo, during which she pauses to kiss another woman. However, the famous director/actor partnership began in The Blue Angel and the image of Dietrich sitting on a beer barrel, one leg raised in the air, drolly singing “Falling in Love Again” defines Dietrich’s image as a complex sexual figure.
December 6, 1930 By MORDAUNT HALL.
In a film tragedy titled "The Blue Angel," which was directed by Josef von Sternberg in Berlin for Ufa, that talented German screen player Emil Jannings, who left Hollywood because of the vocalizing of pictures, makes his first appearance in a talking production. Marlene Dietrich, the attractive Teutonic actress who is to be seen at the Rivoli in Mr. Sternberg's "Morocco," shares honors with Mr. Jannings in this foreign work.
The plot of "The Blue Angel" recalls that of "The Way of All Flesh," Mr. Jannings's first American silent film, but in this current chronicle, instead of being a bank employe, Mr. Jannings impersonates a professor of English literature in a German boys' high school. The story is cleverly told in most of the sequences, while penultimate scenes would be all the better if they were curtailed or modified, as the actual ending is quite impressive.
The fall from grace of an elderly man is a favorite theme with Mr. Jannings, one that has served him in most of his films since the making of "The Last Laugh." As the characters here are different, however, the interest is rekindled and the broken English of the persons involved is accounted for with a certain crafty logic.
As an actor who speaks his lines, Mr. Jannings is perhaps even better than he was in his mute productions, for the speech to a great extent governs his actions and it stays him from his penchant for unnaturally slow movements. There are times here when no words pass the lips of the characters for uncomfortable seconds, but the final analysis is that it is a decidedly interesting picture with exceptionally fine performances contributed by Mr. Jannings and Miss Dietrich, the latter being much more the actress than she is in "Morocco."
Professor Immanuel Rath's (Mr. Jannings) humdrum existence is ably stressed. The landlady where he lives knocks on his door at the same time every morning and announces that his breakfast is served. As the hour of 8 rings out from the old clock tower the professor always is crossing the street or entering the school building. He, for some reason or other, omits the greeting of "Good morning" to his pupils, who stand when he enters the classroom and only at his bidding take their seats. As a professor of English he insists on English being spoken. He is a man without a sense of humor, careful about his attire and stolidly opposed to the students betraying any mirth or glee. His curiosity concerning the youngsters who frequent the cabaret, "The Blue Angel," is aroused by finding in his classroom picture postcards of the stellar feminine performer at that gay resort. She is known as Lola Frohlich (Miss Dietrich), who is supposed to be an English singer.
Lola is a rather taciturn creature, but occasionally she reveals subdued enthusiasm, coupled with a dry sense of humor. It is not unfunny to her to have the professor looking for his students in her dressing room, particularly when three or four of them flee after being warned that the pedagogue is in the offing. One evening, however, when the youths are hiding in a cellar, Lola, after the professor has resented the conduct of another man toward her, hears that the police are on the scene, and the urbane Rath also takes refuge in the retreat afforded his pupils, who incidentaly have lifted the cellar covering and have been watching with keen amusement the professor's admiration of Lola.
Once in the cellar with the young scapegraces, the professor is a target for ridicule and blows. The result is that when he, following a night away from his own abode, arrives late at his classroom, the pupils revolt and the noise they make is heard throughout the building, with the consequence that Professor Immanuel Rath is asked by the school principal for his resignation.
But all is not lost for the disgraced professor, for Lola becomes his wife. There follow time lapses in which one perceives the professor turned into a clown, wearing a false nose and a ridiculously large collar. This goes on until he eventually becomes insane, imitating the crowing of a rooster, which he had once done for a laugh in his rational days. While the professor is on the stage as the foil for a conjurer, Lola is enjoying the attentions of a lover, and she is observed by her elderly spouse. It is then that his senses leave him, and he eventually staggers over to his old classroom and dies at his desk as the bell in the old clock tower is striking the hour.
Not only is Mr. Jannings's and Miss Dietrich's acting excellent, but they are supported by an unusually competent cast.
Having quite a good story, Mr. von Sternberg's direction is infinitely superior to that of "Morocco," and the settings for this film are very effective.
Link for film
THE BLUE ANGEL, with Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron, Rosa Valetti, Hans Albers, Eduard V. Winterstein, Reinhold Bernt, Hans Roth, Karl Huszar-Puffy, Wilhelm Diegelmann and others, based on a novel by Heinrich Mann, directed by Josef von Sternberg and supervised by Erich Pommer; Paramount news; "Go Ahead and Eat," an audible film comedy. At the Rialto.