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 »
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
Germany 1924. Middle aged Dr. Immanuel Rath is a literature professor at a boys college. Most of his students don't much like him, often calling him "unrath" - German for garbage. Dr. Rath learns that many of his boys often frequent a cabaret called Der blaue Engel - the Blue Angel - which he believes is corrupting their impressionable young minds. He heads to the Blue Angel himself to catch the boys in the act and shame them into not going again. Over several visits, Rath is able to catch the boys, but in the process he also understands what attracts the boys, namely the headlining performer Lola Lola. Rath falls under Lola's spell, he who falls in love with her - and she seemingly with him - so much so that he wants to marry her and give up his teaching career to be with her on her travels from cabaret to cabaret. Their relationship ends up not being what either envisioned, the question being how they will both deal with their disintegrating relationship and the reasons behind that ... Written by
First -and only- time I saw Der Blaue Engel, I was a boy of about 13-14 years old. Even though this was over 35 years ago, I still remember how this movie blew me away. I came out of the theater with a new understanding of the world and the human condition.
The story is in essence about love, and what it can make a person do. It is also about what people will do to each other, a theme this movie takes to it's extreme. The acting is supreme, the atmosphere breathtaking, the music score fabulous. Marlene sings one of the great songs in movie history; German cabaret pur sang.
This is a European film in the best sense of the word. It gives the spectator the feeling of being picked up and dropped somewhere in time and place, to witness a dramatic sequence of events in the lives of a small group of people. It starts out jolly enough, but pretty soon you feel that things are going to go terribly wrong. And sure enough, they do.
The young boy that was I, left this movie with a weird mixture of feelings. On the one hand the fear of ever being trapped in such a romantic cul-de-sac, and of losing all human dignity. On the other, a deep longing to experience those bitter emotions. Isn't this the greatest accolade for a tragedy: that it moves you to tears, but at the same time makes you want to experience the sad events that caused those tears?
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