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The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
(German: Der blaue Engel) is a 1930 German tragicomedic film directed by Josef von Sternberg
Josef von Sternberg
and starring Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
and Kurt Gerron. Written by Carl Zuckmayer, Karl Vollmöller and Robert Liebmann – with uncredited contributions by Sternberg – it is based on Heinrich Mann's 1905 novel Professor Unrat (Professor Garbage) and set in Weimar Germany. The Blue Angel presents the tragic transformation of a respectable professor to a cabaret clown and his descent into madness. The film is the first feature-length German full-talkie and brought Dietrich international fame.[2] In addition, it introduced her signature song, Friedrich Hollaender and Robert Liebmann's "Falling in Love Again (Can't Help It)". It is considered to be a classic of German cinema. The film was shot simultaneously in German- and English-language versions, although the latter version was thought lost for many years. The German version is considered to be "obviously superior";[3] it is longer and not marred by actors struggling with their English pronunciation.[4]

Contents

1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Music 4 Production 5 Subsequent history 6 Parodies and adaptations 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Plot[edit]

Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
in her classic cabaret pose in The Blue Angel

Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
in one of many cabaret costumes

Immanuel Rath (Emil Jannings) is an educator at the local gymnasium (a college preparatory high school) in Weimar Germany. The boys disrespect him and play pranks on him. Rath punishes several of his students for circulating photographs of the beautiful Lola Lola (Marlene Dietrich), the headliner for the local cabaret, "The Blue Angel". Hoping to catch the boys at the club, Rath goes there later that evening. He does finds some student there, but while chasing them, he also finds Lola backstage and sees her partially disrobing. When he returns to the cabaret the following evening to return a pair of panties that were smuggled into his coat by one of his students, he ends up staying the night with her. The next morning, reeling from his night of passion, Rath arrives late to school to find his classroom in chaos; the principal is furious and threatens to fire Rath. Rath gives up his position at the gymnasium to marry Lola. Their happiness is short-lived, however, as Rath becomes humiliatingly dependent on Lola. Over several years, he sinks lower and lower, first selling dirty postcards, and then becoming a clown in Lola's troupe to pay the bills. His growing insecurities about Lola's profession as a "shared woman" eventually consume him with lust and jealousy. The troupe returns to his hometown and The Blue Angel, where everyone turns out to see the professor they knew play a clown. Once onstage, Rath is humiliated, not only by a magician who breaks eggs on his head, but also by seeing Lola embrace and kiss the strongman Mazeppa. He is enraged to the point of insanity. He attempts to strangle Lola, but the strongman and others subdue him and lock him in a straitjacket. Later that night, Rath is released. He leaves and goes to his old classroom. Rejected, humiliated, and destitute, he dies clutching the desk at which he once taught. Cast[edit]

Emil Jannings
Emil Jannings
as Professor Immanuel Rath Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
as Lola Lola Kurt Gerron
Kurt Gerron
as Kiepert, the magician Rosa Valetti as Guste, the magician's wife Hans Albers
Hans Albers
as Mazeppa, the strongman Reinhold Bernt as the clown Eduard von Winterstein
Eduard von Winterstein
as the director of school Hans Roth as the caretaker of the secondary school Rolf Müller as Pupil Angst Roland Varno
Roland Varno
as Pupil Lohmann

Carl Balhaus as Pupil Ertzum Robert Klein-Lörk as Pupil Goldstaub Charles Puffy
Charles Puffy
as Innkeeper Wilhelm Diegelmann as Captain Gerhard Bienert as Policeman Ilse Fürstenberg as Rath's maid Die Weintraub Syncopators as Orchestra Friedrich Hollaender
Friedrich Hollaender
as Pianist Wolfgang Staudte as Pupil

Music[edit]

Lola Lola surrounded by chorines on stage at The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
cabaret

"Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß auf Liebe eingestellt" ("Falling in Love Again (Can't Help It)")

music and lyrics by Friedrich Hollaender, sung by Marlene Dietrich

"Ich bin die fesche Lola" ("They Call Me Naughty Lola")

music by Friedrich Hollaender, lyrics by Robert Liebmann, sung by Marlene Dietrich

"Nimm Dich in Acht vor blonden Frau'n" ("Those Charming Alarming Blond Women")

music by Friedrich Hollaender, lyrics by Richard Rillo, sung by Marlene Dietrich

"Kinder, heut' abend, da such' ich mir was aus" ("A Man, Just a Regular Man")

music by Friedrich Hollaender, lyrics by Robert Liebmann,[5] sung by Marlene Dietrich

"Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen wünscht Papageno sich!" ("A Girl or a Little Wife, Wishes Papageno")

by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, from the opera The Magic Flute

Production[edit] Sternberg called the story "the downfall of an enamored man",[6] and he calls Rath "...a figure of self-satisfied dignity brought low."[7] Some critics saw the film as an allegory for pre-war Germany, but Sternberg was very clear that he did not intend to make a political stand: "The year was 1929, Germany was undivided, although the real Germany, its schools and other places pictured in the film were not German and reality failed to interest me".[8][9] Emil Jannings
Emil Jannings
had asked Sternberg to direct him in his first sound picture, although Sternberg and Jannings had clashed on the set of their previous collaboration, The Last Command (1928), and Sternberg had vowed never to work with the actor again. The following year, however, he and Jannings were reconciled, and at the invitation of Erich Pommer, head of UFA, they began to collaborate on a film about Rasputin. Sternberg was less than intrigued by this prospect, however, and as an alternative he suggested the idea of an adaptation of the Heinrich Mann
Heinrich Mann
story Professor Unrat, a 1905 satire about the hypocrisy of the German middle class. Sternberg restructured the story to fit his tastes – simplifying moral themes and emphasizing the anguish of the teacher. As a result, the second half of the book was not used at all, so that the film's ending is entirely new.[10][11] The film adapted the original story's socioeconomic themes to fit the perceived and real decline of the German middle class in 1920s Germany.[12] While Rath represents urban Berlin's middle class, Lola Lola, who speaks with a Berlin accent, represents the lower class from Berlin's suburbs.[13] The shooting took place from 04 November 1929 to 22 January 1930 at Babelsberg Studio
Babelsberg Studio
in Potsdam.[14][15] Because the German and English versions of the film were shot simultaneously, the actors were required to play every scene twice. This was a very common practice of major studios in the early sound era, given the technical difficulties of dubbing and the desire of the studios to be able to sell their films in multiple international markets.[11] The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
is best known for introducing Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
to worldwide attention, although other performers were initially considered for the role, including Trude Hesterberg (a friend of Heinrich Mann), Brigitte Helm, and Lucie Mannheim. Käthe Haack
Käthe Haack
had already been signed to play the part before Sternberg met Dietrich and transferred the part to her.[11] Dietrich's portrayal of an uninhibited woman not only established her stardom but also established a modern embodiment of a vixen. Lola Lola's lusty songs, written by Friedrich Hollaender
Friedrich Hollaender
(music) and Robert Liebmann (lyrics), slither their way into Rath's heart, entrapping him and sealing his fate. The story's melancholic simplicity adds to the beauty of Sternberg's most remembered work in both Germany and America. Dietrich's radiant sensuality might be blamed for the censorship the film faced in Pasadena, California.[16] C.V. Cowan, censor for Pasadena, found many scenes offensive and chose to cut them, though Jason Joy, the nation's censor, did not. Reaction to the censor's seal for the recut film was not good, and the theater removed the censorship statement.[16] During filming, although he was still the nominal star of the film, Jannings could see the growing closeness between Sternberg and Dietrich and the care the director took in presenting her, and the actor became jealous, threatening to strangle the actress and misbehaving on the set.[citation needed] The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
was to be his last great cinematic moment; it was also one of UFA's last great films, as many of the studio's major talents left Germany for Hollywood, including Sternberg and Dietrich, who were met on the dock in New York City by Sternberg's wife, who served legal papers on Dietrich for "alienation of affection". Sternberg and his wife were divorced shortly after.[11] Subsequent history[edit] The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
was banned in Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
in 1933, as were all the works of Heinrich Mann
Heinrich Mann
and Carl Zuckmayer. The German version is much better known. The English-language version was considered a lost film for many years until a print was discovered in a German film archive and restored. The restored English version had its U.S. premiere at the Castro Theatre
Castro Theatre
in San Francisco
San Francisco
on 19 January 2009 as part of the "Berlin and Beyond" film festival.[17][18] The screen test was believed to be lost in the war, as Marlene noted in the 1984 documentary Marlene, with the director and her former co-star in Judgment at Nuremberg
Judgment at Nuremberg
Maximilian Schell
Maximilian Schell
remarking that he had looked for it extensively to no avail. The test was found in an Austrian film archive in 1992, shortly before Dietrich died in May,[19] and is viewable on YouTube.[20] In the screen test she is distracted by odious improvisational piano playing to the song she was singing, "You're the Cream in My Coffee", a contemporary English song. After three attempts and continually berating the pianist - Dietrich was a trained musician, and had many years of violin lessons - she accedes to performing a German song he knows, "Wer wird denn weinen, wenn man auseinander geht" (Who will cry when you go apart) by Hugo Hirsch. Parodies and adaptations[edit]

Lola Lola's nightclub act has been parodied on film by Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye
in drag as Fraulein Lilli in On the Double, by Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn
as Lili von Schtupp in Blazing Saddles, and by Helmut Berger
Helmut Berger
in Luchino Visconti's The Damned. Adaptation: The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
(1959). Director: Edward Dmytryk; with Curd Jürgens Adaptation: Pinjra (1972) Marathi/Hindi. Director: V. Shantaram; with Sandhya and Shreeram Lagoo was highly successful.[21] A stage adaptation by Romanian playwright Razvan Mazilu premiered in 2001 at the Odeon Theatre in Bucharest, starring Florin Zamfirescu as the professor and Maia Morgenstern
Maia Morgenstern
as Lola Lola. In April 2010, Playbill
Playbill
announced that David Thompson was writing the book for a musical adaptation of The Blue Angel, with Stew and Heidi Rodewald providing the score, and Scott Ellis directing.[22]

See also[edit]

Germany portal Film portal

List of German films of 1919–1932

References[edit] Notes

^ a b The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
(1930) on IMDb ^ Bordwell, David; Kristin Thompson (2003) [1994]. "The Introduction of Sound". Film History: An Introduction (2nd ed.). New York City: McGraw-Hill. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-07-115141-2.  ^ Maltin, Leonard (ed.) Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide Plume, 2005. p.151. ISBN 0-452-28592-5 ^ Travers, James. "Der Blaue Engel (1930)" Films de France (2005) ^ "Music" on TCM.com ^ Sternberg, p. 11 ^ Wakeman, p. 1045 ^ Wakeman, p. 1046 ^ Sternberg, p. 13 ^ Sternberg, pp. 9-11 ^ a b c d Steffen, James. "The Blue Angel" at TCM.com ^ " The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
- News - The Harvard Crimson". www.thecrimson.com.  ^ Gellen, Kata. "Be/Ruf": Sound Control and Vocal Training in "Der blaue Engel" Colloqyua Germanica (v.44 n.3) pp259-281 ^ filmportal.de. "filmportal.de: „Der blaue Engel"" (in German). filmportal.de. Retrieved 2017-03-15.  ^ filmmuseum-potsdam.de. " Potsdam
Potsdam
Film Museum: On the history of the Babelsberg studios" (in German). Potsdam
Potsdam
Film Museum. Retrieved 2017-03-15.  ^ a b Black, p.50 ^ "14th Annual Berlin & Beyond Film Festival" Archived 2012-12-15 at the Wayback Machine. on Flavorpill.com ^ "A Tale Of Two Cities: Berlin & Noir" (January 22, 2009) ^ Grimes, William (15 October 1992). "Dietrich Had a Fit (in Fact 3 Fits) in Screen Test" – via NYTimes.com.  ^ Pax Fontana (20 August 2009). " Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
Blue Angel screentest 1930" – via YouTube.  ^ "The German Connection". Indian Express. Jan 15, 2006. Retrieved 3 August 2013.  ^ Simonson, Robert. Scottsboro Librettist David Thompson Working on New Musicals With Stew, Scott Ellis Archived 2012-10-18 at the Wayback Machine.. Playbill, April 1, 2010.

Bibliography

Black, Gregory D. (1994). Hollywood censored : morality codes, Catholics, and the movies (Transferred to digital print. ed.). Cambridge [u.a.]: Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN 0521452996.  Sarris, Andrew. The Films of Josef von Sternberg
Josef von Sternberg
(New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1966) Sternberg, Josef von. The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
(New York: Simon & Schuster, 1968) Wakeman, John. World Film Directors Vol. 1 (New York: H.W. Wilson, 1987)

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Der blaue Engel
Der blaue Engel
(1930 film).

The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
on IMDb The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
(English version) on IMDb The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
(English version) is available for free download at the Internet Archive The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
at Rotten Tomatoes The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
at the TCM Movie Database The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
at AllMovie Îngerul Albastru at Odeon Theatre (stage production) (in Romanian) Dissecting The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
- a structure breakdown. Notes on film: The Blue Angel

v t e

Films directed by Josef von Sternberg

Silent films

The Salvation Hunters (1925) The Exquisite Sinner
The Exquisite Sinner
(1926) A Woman of the Sea (1926) Underworld (1927) The Last Command (1928) The Dragnet
The Dragnet
(1928) The Docks of New York
The Docks of New York
(1928) The Case of Lena Smith (1929)

Sound films

Thunderbolt (1929) The Blue Angel
The Blue Angel
(1930) Morocco (1930) Dishonored (1931) An American Tragedy (1931) Shanghai Express (1932) Blonde Venus
Blonde Venus
(1932) The Scarlet Empress
The Scarlet Empress
(1934) The Devil is a Woman (1935) Crime and Punishment (1935) The King Steps Out
The King Steps Out
(1936) Sergeant Madden
Sergeant Madden
(1939) The Shanghai Gesture
The Shanghai Gesture
(1941) The Town (1943) Macao (1952) Anatahan (1952) Jet Pilot (1957)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities LCCN: n83019

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