Customer Review

70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kino's 2-disc DVD version, December 12, 2001
This review is from: The Blue Angel (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. Kino should have thought of filling the vacancies with additional comments (either by Sedendorf or someone else), especially when a lot of relevant topics are not adequately covered, such as the legendary collaborations between Dietrich and von Sternberg, the details about the censorship practiced on the English version, the period of German Expressionism that inspired directors like von Sternberg, etc.
The DVD does include a generous amount of extra material. There is a wonderful biography section that includes photos and credits of about 30 cast and crew members. There are about 150 photos, some of which are then-and-now comparisons of some of the props and costumes in the movie. There are text screens of the film's production history. The best extras, unquestionnably, are the 4 film clips of Dietrich's screen test and concert performances. There is a memorable clip of the 1930 screen test of Dietrich singing "You are the Cream in my Coffee." There are 2 clips of televised concerts from the 60s and 70s showing Dietrich performing two of the songs in the movie (English renditions of "Falling in Love Again" and "Lola Lola"). There is another TV footage of her singing "You are the Cream in my Coffee" after reminiscing about her 1930 screen test.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 13, 2007 1:29:53 PM PST
Julie Vognar says:
Thanks. I bought it. The only question is: what will I use for money to buy food at he end of the month? Also bought "M"...and a couple more...

Posted on Feb 29, 2008 9:48:36 AM PST
Bought it, -we own better quality movies of that era,- and the sound of this one is terrible. Have to figure out how to return it.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2015 5:05:35 PM PST
g says:
Quality film more important than food however old vhs tapes might be tasty--LOL
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