Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) (1930)

Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel)



Critic Consensus: Marlene Dietrich steals more than one show in this backstage tragedy about a lowly professor besotted with a cruel and enigmatic singer.

Movie Info

When the strength of a man's spirit cannot keep him from succumbing to the weakness of his flesh, tragedy ensues, as can be seen in Joseph Von Sternberg's powerful classic tale of lust and moral corruption that chronicles the downfall of upright and tough schoolmaster Immanuel Rath (Emil Jannings). He meets his demise at the icy hands of seductive gold-digging cabaret singer Lola Frohlich (Marlene Dietrich in the performance that made her an international star). Highlights include Dietrich … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Robert Lieberman, Karl Vollmöller, Robert Liebmann, Carl Zuckmayer, Karl Vollmoeller
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 13, 2001
Universum Film Gmbh


as Lola Frohlich

as Prof. Immanuel Rath

as Kiepert

as Mazeppa

as Guste, his wife

as Beadle

as Goldstaub, a Studen...

as Policeman

as Pupil Lohmann

as Rath's maid

as Pupil Ertzum
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel)

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (12)

The first film collaboration between Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich, this reeks with decay and sexuality.

Full Review… | July 28, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

If The Blue Angel is familiar material, it is also the sort of hing that Jannings does better than anyone else.

Full Review… | July 28, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

On top of the drawing power of Jannings comes the discovery of a new magnet, Marlene Dietrich.

Full Review… | June 2, 2008
Top Critic

The film looks and sounds its age, but remains enthralling.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Not only is Mr. Jannings's and Miss Dietrich's acting excellent, but they are supported by an unusually competent cast.

Full Review… | January 28, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

You can't hear 'Falling In Love Again' too many times.

Full Review… | June 20, 2002
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel)

What is most memorable in this first-rate tragic classic, apart from Jannings' superb performance, is Marlene Dietrich's incredibly enticing and magnetic presence - which not by chance launched her into international stardom - but the film also looks and sounds a bit outdated today.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Why is it so hard for entertainers to fall in love? This movie is sad, but the story is good, especially the ending. Overall it's okay.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


This is a story about the devastating effects of a man who lets his heart override his brain. A classic of German cinema, right up there with M and Metropolis, this one directed by Josef von Sternberg. If this film was nothing but the visuals -- sets, lighting, art direction -- it would have still knocked me out. But it is so much more than that.

Emil Jennings plays college professor Immanuel Rath, who find his students in possession of postcards of a sexy cabaret singer. He goes to the club, called the Blue Angel, to confront the woman, named Lola Lola, about her effects on his students. Unfortunately, he falls head over heels for her himself, and his obsession leads to the loss of his career and eventually, his dignity.

It starts comedic at first, with Rath collecting the student's postcards in class, and then later chasing them through the club. But as it goes on Rath loses more and more of his self-worth. When he finally can take no more, being utterly humiliated in front of his hometown, and snaps, it's terrifying to watch. Some of the more memorable scenes are the death of Rath's canary (really), Lola's songs, and the last shot of the film --which I will not give away here -- has stuck with me since I first saw it years and years ago.

One of Marlene Dietrich's first films, she is not the glamour ice goddess of her future -- no severe lighting, no cheekbones, no slinky dresses. She plays Lola as much more earthy and blatantly sexual.. Lola knows her appeal to men and is basically a cocktease. I stil haven't decided if Lola means from the beginning to treat Rath as badly as she does, if she doesn't know any better or just doesn't care.

One interesting thing about this film is seeing what was considered sexy and racy in pre-Hitler Germany. Lola's costumes are very revealing and yet really show nothing, except her undies. One postcard has a photo of Lola with a grass skirt attached to the card that can be blown up to show her stockings and garters. The young men in Rath's class get great entertainment by this activity. It seems so innocent now in this age of teen girls dressing like streetwalkers and thong bathing suits on every beach. Kinda sad really how jaded we've become as a society.

Cindy I

Super Reviewer

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