Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) Reviews
I love von Sternberg's dramatic use of shadows, and that's on display here. The film was Germany's first 'talkie', but it still feels like it has a foot in silent filmdom in places. It's a little ponderous as it plays out, but never boring. Seeing Dietrich sing is fantastic, regardless of what people say about her vocal range. Seeing her saunter about nonchalantly in lingerie or revealing outfits, with the smallest attempts to cover up, is as well. This is a woman completely comfortable with who she is, and one can't help but see Dietrich the woman in the character she plays. One of my favorite moments was when Jannings stands up to an oafish naval man who rudely comes calling for her backstage, and her cool exterior is pierced in the instant she recognizes him for a gentleman who treats her properly. It's not her absolute best, but still, an entertaining film.
Some quotes from Dietrich's songs:
"Falling in love again, never wanted to. What's a girl to do? I can't help it. What choice do I have? That's the way I'm made. Love is all I know, I can't help it. Men swarm around me like moths 'round a flame. And if their wings are singed, surely I can't be blamed."
"Beware of blonde women, they're special, every one. At first you may be unaware, but something is definitely there. A little hanky-panky can be fun, but from their clutches you'd better run."
The characters were very, very interesting. Lola Lola was hot and so was her attitude. Great performance by her, for sure, but the professor was truly outstanding. The range of emotions his character went through was so expansive, and so excellently portrayed. Great performances all around.
The story was good, absolutely. Interesting, sexy, exciting, scary, tragic, and imperfect, of course. One thing I'm still adjusting to with watching old films is how insanely fast people fall in love??? It's like they have one good exchange and then they're embracing each other, grasping each other's biceps firmly with this abrupt burst of passion and commitment, touching noses. No one falls in love that fast. I don't know if their standards were different in real life back then or if they just hadn't worked out how to tell a story where love grows gradually instead of shooting up into the sky. It felt a little bit like lazy story-telling, but only on the romance level. The rest of it had normal pacing, for the most part. It had its slow, boring moments, but it wasn't too bad. I guess the pacing was kinda weird, rather uneven. The professor's change in character was gradual, foreshadowed, and it made sense- but other developments I found were much too abrupt, without explanation.
Anyway, I liked this film a lot. I do recommend it for a viewing. The conclusion was great, mildly disturbing. I wouldn't mind watching it again someday but I don't feel a need to include it in my collection anytime soon.
Bye love you