Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) Reviews

  • Antonius B 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."

    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."

  • Apr 04, 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.

    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.

  • Mar 05, 2017

    7.4/10, my review: http://wp.me/p1eXom-2Qd

    7.4/10, my review: http://wp.me/p1eXom-2Qd

  • Oct 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.

    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.

  • Marcus W Super Reviewer
    Sep 23, 2015

    It's powerful, hypnotic, vicious, twisted, amazing, and horrible.

    It's powerful, hypnotic, vicious, twisted, amazing, and horrible.

  • Aug 22, 2015

    This is the role that made Dietrich famous. Actually quite sad.

    This is the role that made Dietrich famous. Actually quite sad.

  • May 15, 2015

    gr8 star vehicle for the amazing Dietrich

    gr8 star vehicle for the amazing Dietrich

  • Mar 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. 8/10 Bye love you

    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. 8/10 Bye love you

  • Jan 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

    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

  • Carlos M Super Reviewer
    Nov 13, 2014

    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.

    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.