Josef von Sternberg / PG / 99 mins / Germany, USA 1930

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"A modern tragedy and an erotic masterpiece." Phillip French  "As timelessly alluring as ever!" Mark Kermode

Pompous and unworldly, Professor Rath (Emil Jannings) is an object of ridicule to the teenage boys he teaches.  When he learns that the boys are frequenting a nightclub called The Blue Angel he decides to catch them in the act and shame them into not going again.  Instead, Rath falls under the spell of the mesmerisingly carnal Lola (Marlene Dietrich in the role that defined her persona.)  Lola teases, tantalises and eventually falls for the naive teacher, who is prepared to sacrifice everything for her.

This was the first 'talkie' film to come out of Germany and with an eye to the international market the film was shot simultaneously in German and English.  This is the English version.  Director von Sternberg saw this as a showcase for the already-established Jannings; instead it was Dietrich who was - and is - truly memorable, and after the early success of the film the ending was recut to give Dietrich the final scene.  The rest is (film) history!  If you want to dig a bit deeper, this review from Roger Ebert is good.

Watch Virtual: THE BLUE ANGEL here.


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