In a juke joint, sharecropper Zeke falls for a beautiful dancer, Chick, but she's only setting him up for a rigged craps game. He loses $100, the money he got for the sale of his family's ... See full summary »
Daniel L. Haynes,
Nina Mae McKinney,
This early example of the "backstage" musical genre tells the story of Kitty Darling, a fading burlesque star who tries to save her convent-educated daughter April from following in Mom's ... See full summary »
Fuller Mellish Jr.
"Meghe Dhaka Tara" tells the tragic story of the beautiful daughter of a middle-class refugee family from East Pakistan, living in the outskirts of Calcutta under modest circumstances. ... 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
Marlene Dietrich's screen test for this film survives. In it, she pretends to upbraid her pianist, played by Friedrich Hollander, the film's composer. She then sings the chorus of "You're the Cream In My Coffee" a number of times, in English, after which she climbs on the piano, hitches up her skirt (to show her legs) and sings, in German, a torch song called "Why Cry" by Peter Kreuder, a well-known song-writer who became the film's orchestrator. See more »
Falling in love again/ Never wanted to/ What am I to do?/ I can't help it.
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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.
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