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The Blue Angel

120 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The crowning achievement of Weimar cinema, The Blue Angel is an exquisite parable of one man's fall from respectability, presented in both the newly-restored German and English-language versions. Emil Jannings, the quintessential German expressionist actor, stars as Professor Immanuel Rath, the sexually-repressed instructor of a boys prep school. After learning of the pupils' infatuation with French postcards depicting a local nightclub songstress, he decides to personally investigate the source of such indecency. But as soon as he enters the shadowy Blue Angel nightclub and steals one glimpse of the smoldering Lola-Lola (Marlene Dietrich), commanding the stage in a top hat, stockings and bare thighs, Rath's self-righteous piety is crushed. He finds himself fatefully seduced by the throaty voice of the vulgar siren, singing, "Falling In Love Again." Consumed by desire and tormented by his rigid propriety, Professor Rath allows himself to be dragged down a path of personal degradation. Lola's unrestrained sexuality was a revelation to turn-of-the-decade moviegoers, thrusting Dietrich to the forefront of the sultry international leading ladies, such as Greta Garbo, who were challenging the limits of screen sexuality.

Additional Features

Kino's two-disc set features both the restored 106-minute German-language version and the trimmed 94-minute English-language version, which was shot simultaneously for the American market (with the actors clumsily performing in English). Historian Werner Sudendorf of the Berlin Film Museum provides an informative and well-researched commentary track (on the German version) steeped in production history and background detail, and he contributes "The Blue Angel Chronicles," a historical timeline illustrated with production stills. Marlene Dietrich fans will love the concert clips of Dietrich revisiting three songs from the film in that smoky, throaty nightclub voice of her mature years. Other features are Dietrich's 1929 screen test, a two-minute interview clip from 1963 in which she discusses The Blue Angel, a stills gallery with behind-the- scenes photos, costume illustrations and posters, bios of 41 key cast and production staff members, and original and reissue trailers. --Sean Axmaker

Special Features

  • Two-disc set
  • Original and restored German version of the feature with English subtitles
  • "English" version of the feature (translated where needed)
  • Original and reissue trailers
  • Marlene Dietrich's 1930 screen test for The Blue Angel
  • Concert footage from two different Dietrich performances, including three songs
  • Filmed interview (2 min.)
  • 41 biographies of all key cast and production staff
  • Chronicles about the history of the production by Werner Sudendorf
  • Photo gallery, including behind-the-scenes stills, costume illustrations, and posters

Product Details

  • Actors: Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron, Rosa Valetti, Hans Albers
  • Directors: Josef von Sternberg
  • Writers: Josef von Sternberg, Carl Zuckmayer, Heinrich Mann, Karl Vollmöller, Robert Liebmann
  • Producers: Erich Pommer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Silent, Subtitled
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: November 13, 2001
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005QW59
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,475 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Blue Angel" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 75 people found the following review helpful By keviny01 on December 12, 2001
Format: DVD
Relative newcomer Marlene Dietrich's electrifying performance in the 1930 sound film THE BLUE ANGEL overshadows the perhaps even greater performance by Emil Jannings as a sexually-repressed professor. Her screen presence also more than overcomes Josef von Sternberg's rather static direction that was typical of early sound films, elevating this romantic melodrama into its classic status.
Kino's region-free DVD contains both the German and the English versions of the film, each on a separate disc. Both versions look very clean for a 71-year-old film, although just a tad less sharp than I would have liked. The English version looks a bit cleaner still. The supplements include a side-by-side comparison of the two versions (with the German version shown on the left), and the English version indeed looks better. The German version is supported by optional, white-on-black-bar English subtitles. The black bars, of course, cover up part of the picture. I would suggest Kino use white, black-bordered lettering for subtitles in the future instead.
The German version runs 102 minutes, and has a few scenes that are not shown in the English version due to censorship (such as the moment when Lola rotates her body to reveal her bare back side to her nightclub audience). The English version runs 100 minutes. Although it was supposedly made for English audiences, only Dietrich's role is all English-speaking, while the other actors speak a combination of both languages -- English for important dialogs, German for less important ones.
The included audio commentary on the German disc is a mild disappointment. Although historian Werner Sedendorf's analytical comments are excellent, he just does not speak often enough. Long stretches of silence are frequent.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 21, 2003
Format: DVD
A German cinema classic from the late Weimar-era, and the film debut of super-sexy Marlene Dietrich, who is stunning in her role as a flirtatious, heartless cabaret singer whose carnal wiles bring an infatuated school teacher to ruin. But then, what is *really* responsible for his downfall? Dietrich as the temptress, his own repressed sexuality and concurrent fetishization of her beauty, or the close-mindedness of the society around them? As with much of the art of this era (in Germany and without), this film depicts the clash of the old world and the new -- the modern, open, crass, liberating and chaotic world of the individual against the older, stable, stifling, communal and "moral" world of the village and church. At any rate, the transformation of actor Emil Jannings from a fusty old humbug into a degraded shell of a man is a dramatic triumph, and the direction, by Josef von Sternberg, is flawless -- filled with darkness, closeness and brooding claustrophia. The new DVD version features both the German and English-language versions (the English version isn't dubbed, it was actually *acted* in English by the same German actors, and has a few interesting differences of moral tone...) and also includes, as an added bonus Marlene Dietrich's first screen test, which is hilarious, and a must-see for her fans.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca on February 29, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
The film that turned the head of Adolf Hitler and sky-rocketed Marlena Dietrich to international stardom is as fresh and orginal today as it was when it first hit theaters in Germany 70 years ago.
With the aid of english subtitles, we are introduced to Dr. Immanuel Rath, an esteemed professor of an upper-class German prep school. A stern and authoritative man, his feathers are ruffled severely when he learns some of his students have been neglecting their studies in favor of visiting a night club, the Blue Angel, on the more sordid side of town to hear a beautiful singer named Lola Lola.
When Rath confronts Lola, he becomes smitten with her. An infatuation which will eventually lead to his own professional and personal downfall.
Emil Jannings (the first person ever to win a Best Actor Oscar) is marvelous as the stuffy and destructive Rath, and his ham-handed pirouette into complete emotional and physical breakdown is mesmerizing. Dietrich is equally fundamental in her role as Lola, slowly seducing, not just her fellow characters, but the audience too, with her entralling presence.
Is it any wonder this film lives on?
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Maryann Foley on December 22, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
A stunningly beautiful movie. It was dietrich's first film and she easily and quickly gains her title as a sultry sex goddess that is always just out of reach from her alluring audience. The film is about a school teacher(Emil Jannings) who immediatley falls in love with a stripper(Dietrich)named Lola. Lola utimatley destroys Jannings in this emotionally packed drama. In the end Lola is unscathed by the destruction of her lover and sings tauntingly "Falling In Love Again" this final scene is probably the most memorable in the whole movie. She poses so deliciously its sickening. It's easy to tell that nothing is going to take her down, she is a strong cold-hearted woman who moves from man to man like a praying mantis.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Culbert Laney on December 20, 2001
Format: DVD
The story, while interesting, features a very abrupt transition. One day, the protagonist is a rigid, somewhat sadistic professor, the next he's in a state of complete ruin and humiliation. It reminds me of "The Last Laugh," also starring Emil Jannings. Both of these are films that improve on subsequent viewings, when the shock of the arbitrary overnight destruction of the characters has worn off. In fairness, I must say that if you took many professors out of their safe tenured nests, they'd probably fare far worse than Professor Rath does here. At least he's able to muster up an attractive female companion.
This special edition offers complete versions of both the German and English editions of the film. The German version is from a very fine print. It has good detail but is occasionally a bit contrasty. It has marked fine grain throughout, which the compression required for DVD struggles with. If you focus on the grain, it appears to move in fits and starts, giving the subliminial appearance that the picture is constantly going into brief digital pauses. Well, no matter, its still very good. The sound is also fine if slightly muffled.
From what I can tell, the English version is from the original camera negative, with one or more prints used to fill in missing or damaged sections. The print(s) are generally as good as that used for the German version, but thankfully without the graining. Where the negative was used, which I estimate is almost 2/3 of the film, the picture quality is truly superb. The sound quality is more variable. When it is good, it is excellent for the vintage. However, many sections suffer from distortion, which exacerbates the difficulty in understanding some of the thick German accents.
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