9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2007
Last night while attending to various household tasks I thought it would be fun to watch a video someone gave me of the 1930 German film Der Blaue Engel, starring Marlene Dietrich. I had not seen it since college days but remembered how hauntingly Marlene sings "Falling in love again" in German. I was struck more than ever of the profound tragedy of what is essentially a morality play set in the decadent Weimar Republic of the 1920's. Marlene plays "Lola Lola," a nightclub entertainer with a sordid past, who seduces a naive professor, a pillar of morality and respectability in his village. Professor Rath's fleeting fall from grace leads to the loss of respect of his students, and he carries his destruction further when he decides to marry Lola. In conquering the professor, Lola loses him, because the scholarly gentleman to whom she had felt drawn almost immediately disappears into buffoonery. The scene in which the professor is made to perform as a clown in front of his former pupils and colleagues, while Lola entertains her new lover in the next room, is one of the most tragic ever captured on celluloid. It shows the destruction sudden passion wreaks upon an essentially innocent person who in spite of an upright past is not forgiven, by the world, for a single fatal transgression. Marlene, as usual, incarnates both sensuality and extreme callousness; how typical the Lola Lola character has become in our society, for what once only haunted cheap cabarets is now everywhere.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2013
I already reviewed Kino's single disc Blu-ray of THE BLUE ANGEL which only includes the original German language version, so I'll avoid delving into details about it on this Ultimate Edition. Suffice to say that it is identical to the earlier release.
What's special about the Ultimate Edition is that it offers - for the first time on Blu-ray - the rarely seen English version on a second disc. It has the actors speaking their lines phonetically, although portions of dialog not crucial to the narrative are left in German. The English version utilizes a few different camera angles and is also about three minutes shorter, but not because of any missing scenes; the translation of the dialog was streamlined to make it easier on the actors. This was especially true about Emil Jannings who hardly knew any English at all, whereas his co-star Marlene Dietrich knew enough to get by. In fact, Dietrich was the most versed in English than anyone else in the cast.
Having ordered my copy directly from Kino, I was able to receive it before the street date of December 17th. Since THE BLUE ANGEL is high on my list of favorite films, I didn't hesitate in ordering the Ultimate Edition, even if it meant doubling up on the German version. It's worth it because the quality of the English version is gorgeous; I would even say it's better than the German in sharpness and brightness, with very pleasing grain configuration. It also has less wear and the soundtrack is a bit more crisp. As much as I love Dietrich's original rendition of "Falling in Love Again", I think her English version of the song projects an even more haunting quality.
The fine assortment of extras include a scene comparison between the two versions, Dietrich's screen test, a clip from a 1971 Dietrich interview, footage from three of her concert performances, two trailers - one from the '30's and one from the '60's, and a photo gallery.
For me, the HD transfer of the English version justifies the double dip, and I must highly recommend this fine release to everyone else who loves THE BLUE ANGEL.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2014
The iconic opening theme is missing for a few seconds as the opening titles roll. This was not the case in the previous DVD release. I can't believe Kino would let this out the door without correcting it! Quality control, please?
on March 12, 2015
The film has been cleaned up quite a bit, but still suffers from thousands of micro scratches on each frame, giving it the appearance of "noise" and reducing the contrast levels. Understandably, it is next to impossible for a human to clean up these sorts of films, but eventually computers will be able to predict what the film looked like originally, remove the scratches and totally restore the film. But it's not going to happen anytime soon.