More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 41.18%
Average: 5.88%
Pretty Bad: 5.88%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 5 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Road Not Taken, The by Jay Seaver

Great Battle, The by Jay Seaver

True Fiction by Jay Seaver

Pick of the Litter by Jay Seaver

Fahrenheit 11/9 by Peter Sobczynski

House With A Clock In Its Walls, The by Peter Sobczynski

Life Itself (2018) by Peter Sobczynski

Unity of Heroes by Jay Seaver

Hanagatami by Jay Seaver

Predator, The by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Blue Angel, The
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Jay Seaver

"An essential film, if not a great one."
4 stars

The Blue Angel was one of Josef von Sternberg's first talkies, but in many way it still has the feel of a silent. Emil Jannings plays Professor Immanuel Rath with a dignity that is almost painful to see, and when that dignity is crushed, we it not through words, but through silences, slightly exaggerated movements, and a terrible stillness.

At first, the ones affronting him are his students, who mock him ceaselessly as Professor "Unrath" (apparently, German for "garbage") and blow off their studies to watch singer Lola Lola (Marlene Dietrich) at the Blue Angel nightclub. He chases them down, and while he is initially extremely embarrassed to be in this establishment, he and Lola do hit it off, and he is caught somewhat by surprise at his ability to find joy in his life.

It's a good movie; a classic story filled with iconic characters. Maybe too iconic; Professor Rath is a brilliantly essayed type, but isn't as individual as the similar characters who would come later. Similarly, Lola is a primal movie force, the blonde woman who seduces and destroys not out of malice, but simply because it is her nature. Neither lights up the screen like their supporting characters, but that hasn't changed in almost seventy-five years since. Jannings and Dietrich didn't create these character types, but they have been greatly refined since. The film also makes some odd choices on which scenes to include and exclude; there are a few times when something feels missing, like the story lurches from one point to another more out of necessity than because it feels right. A lot of time is spent establishing Rath as a sort of pompous, stiff academic, more than strictly necessary.

Otherwise, this is an interesting film - it features von Sternberg's first collaboration with Dietrich, was filmed in both English and German-language version , and is an early example of the "respectable man laid low by a beautiful woman" genre.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 06/02/04 15:15:09
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

11/19/06 Ionicera unlikeable characters and slow story enlivened by some iconic scenes 3 stars
4/29/06 Carol Baker Pretty Bad. In fact it almost put me to sleep. it should be colorized. 2 stars
2/08/03 mr. Pink Dietrich is phenomenal in her debut! Von Sternberg knew quite rightly that she was a star! 4 stars
2/05/03 Charles Tatum Excellent, repressed character study; incredible acting 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  05-Dec-1930 (NR)



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast