Many passengers on the Shanghai Express are more concerned that the notorious Shanghai Lil is on board than the fact that a civil war is going on that may make the trip take more than three... See full summary »
Josef von Sternberg
Anna May Wong
Film told in flashbacks of an older man's obsession for a woman who can belong to no-one but can frustrate everyone. The backdrop is SternbergÍs surreal and fantastic Carnaval in Spain. In ... See full summary »
Josef von Sternberg
Edward Everett Horton
Young Princess Sophia of Germany is taken to Russia to marry the half-wit Grand Duke Peter, son of the Empress. The domineering Empress hopes to improve the royal blood line. Sophia doesn't... See full summary »
Kent, the unscrupulous boss of Bottleneck has Sheriff Keogh killed when he asks one too many questions about a rigged poker game that gives Kent a stranglehold over the local cattle rangers... See full summary »
Professor Immanuel Rath (Curt Jurgens)is a martinet botany professor at a German high school who finds post cards bearing the likeness of Lola-Lola (May Britt), "The Blue Angel", in the ... See full summary »
A young woman, Poppy, out for excitement in Shanghai, enters a gambling house owned by "Mother" Gin Sling, a dragon-lady who worked herself up from poverty to buy the casino. Sir Guy ... See full summary »
Immanuel Rath, an old bachelor, is a professor at the town's university. When he discovers that some of his pupils often go into a speakeasy, The Blue Angel, to visit a dancer, Lola Lola, he comes there to confront them. But he is attracted to Lola. The next night he comes again--and does not sleep at home. This causes trouble at work and his life takes a downward spiral. Written by
Yepok & Justin
I think this is more a commentary on the human condition than it is a movie review. von Sternberg presents Professor Rath as pompous, rather inflexible and naive, and then reduces him gradually to a pitiful, self-debasing wretch
much like Tyrone Power's character in "Nightmare Alley". Rath, appears
to me, not so much the victim as a drunken jaywalker who wanders out into traffic and is totally shocked when he is hit by a truck. Emil Jannings, without doubt, delivers everything that von Sternberg could have asked for.
I have never been a big Marlene Dietrich fan, but I have to admit that, in this early effort, her utter sexuality and the casual way she dispenses it is hypnotic. Her character is also complex. Between her first encounter with Rath and those final scenes, her attitude toward him changes from amusement and ridicule to concern, pity, and even affection. His return to his home town and his descent into total degradation is painful to watch, yet she chooses this opportunity to humiliate him even further by offering herself to Mazeppa while he watches. I'm baffled.
The corruption and hopelessness of the German cafe circuit is a perfect backdrop for this study of the human condition. When one reaches their absolute nadir - like Rath - there are few choices left. Suicide, violent hostility, or if you are lucky - the determination and will to climb out of the cesspool. Rath was a day late and a reichsmark short. I would like to think that if he had more time he would have made it.
23 of 29 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?