Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) Reviews

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Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
May 22, 2018
Marlene Dietrich's breakout film from 1930, and the first of her legendary seven films with director Josef von Sternberg, is probably rightfully considered required viewing for the cinephile. She plays a world weary, jaded performer at 'The Blue Angel' cabaret, and one day is visited by a professor (Emil Jannings) who is trying to catch his students in the act of being there. Dietrich is mesmerizing, with a sexuality muted by her ennui, but alive in her mirthful eyes. She wears a top hat and outfits that generously flaunt her legs, and apparently her look was inspired by the artist Felicien Rops. We get the sense that Jannings has a good heart in an early scene where he whistles to his pet bird, but he's also pedantic and we can see why he's openly mocked by his students. When one is caught in the cabaret and says they are there for the same reasons he is, he explodes in anger, but we see his hypocrisy, and it's hard to completely empathize with him. I suppose that's one of things that take away from the film for me - the main characters are not all that likeable. The other is the unpleasantness of the main theme, which is humiliation and debasement.

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."
February 24, 2018
1001 movies to see before you die.
April 4, 2017
This beautiful German film is impregnated with eroticism on the peak of which is ultra sexy Marlene Dietrich. Emil Jannings gives a very spectacular performance as a respectable professor turned clown. And, of course, the classic song.
October 25, 2016
Characters with charismatic powers unfolding like poetry. Great storytelling and a splendid building up towards a impeccable turnaround. Dietrich and Jannings giving it all, reaching for the stars, grabs them and eats them.
Super Reviewer
November 21, 2015
What is most memorable in this first-rate tragic classic, apart from Jannings' superb performance, is Marlene Dietrich's incredibly enticing, magnetic presence - which not by chance launched her into international stardom -, but the film also looks and sounds a bit dated today.
Super Reviewer
September 23, 2015
It's powerful, hypnotic, vicious, twisted, amazing, and horrible.
August 22, 2015
This is the role that made Dietrich famous. Actually quite sad.
½ May 15, 2015
gr8 star vehicle for the amazing Dietrich
½ April 2, 2015
Has a very thin plot and story, just didn't engage me. Just feels very dated to me.
March 29, 2015
I enjoyed this film a lot. It had good character establishment/development, good acting besides some over-obviousness at some points (which was characteristic of films in this era, so can't knock it too much). There was a multitude of great shots, creative angles, and innovative choices in editing- far more than I expected in a film from this time. The sound was clear and the lighting was impeccable. It was the most clean/professional-looking film thus far on my watchlist.
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
January 29, 2015
Para os que gostam de cinema verdadeiro não estou a falar de um filme mas sim de um Excepcional drama trágico, é um dos melhores exemplos do cinema bem-realizado
½ September 22, 2014
Instead of blaming Lola for being the femme fatale, the obsessive Professor has only himself to blame. Remarkably iconic performance from Marlene Dietrich which is mocked by many fellowmen, such as Helmut Berger.
July 1, 2014
Un estricto profesor termina humillado y sin dignidad cuando cae en las manos de una hermosa cantante. La historia de muchos.
June 23, 2014
Je l'avais pas trouvé vraiment bon ...
June 3, 2014
Grand fun - and gams!
½ February 20, 2014
An extraordinary character study that boasts some of the best performances I have ever seen from such an early film. The 1930s were often plagued by melodramatic performances and Marlene Dietrich does a sensational job as the seducing Lola. THe scene stealer for me though was the highly strung professor portrayed by Emil Jannings. The Blue Angel effectively shows the downfall of Professor Emanuel Rath who goes from one of the most respected and intelligent men in town to a deranged lunatic dressed as a clown. Jannings delivers such an amazing performance, particularly in the final scenes of the movie in which he has a nervous breakdown and is ridiculed on stage in front of his entire hometown. Though it was a tad dull at times, the final scenes were some of the most impressive in film history.
February 19, 2014
The Blue Angel has nice expressionist sequences in a manner of earlier silent German classics, competent acting, especially that of Marlene Dietrich and interesting story, but that story needed greater emotional investment to make a bigger impact and the singing scenes slow the movie significantly in a manner of detours and that is why this early sound film is good, but very flawed indeed.
January 2, 2014
Both the German and the English version of Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel remain an important part of cinematic history. The German version is by far the more effective. This might be due, in part, because the cast was German. However, there is something more realistic and gritty to be found in the German version. Produced prior to the Hayes Office Codes, the film offers an interesting insight into how early cinema was approaching realism. Marlene Dietrich literally seethes eroticism and her fellow "ladies" on the stage are every bit as tawdry as what Fosse would capture over forty years later in CABARET. Emil Jannings is both comical and heart-breaking in his performance. While the film does hinge on a misogynistic turn, it avoid the pitfall of the normal "bad girl with a heart of gold" conceit. This film will most certainly hold a great deal of interest for hardcore movie buffs or Film Theory aficionados. The allure of sexual desire has seldom been captured so brutally.
November 30, 2013
A tragic film about an esteemed professor's love affair with a lusty songstress leading to his fall from social graces.
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