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
The small kingdom of Marshovia has a little problem. The main tax-payer, the wealthy widow Sonia (who pays 52 0f the taxes) has left for Paris So Count Danilo is sent to Paris, to stop her ... See full summary »
Edward Everett Horton
Amateur plumber Cluny Brown gets sent off by her uncle to work as a servant at an English country estate. While there, she becomes friendly with Adam Belinski, a charming Czech refugee. She... See full summary »
Paramount paid $8,500 for Melchior Lengyel's play. The film length was gradually cut from 2916.94m (11 reels) to 2478.33m (nine reels) after pre-release showings in New York City and six California cities from 25 July 1937 to 13 September 1937. See more »
Silly how upsetting a little thing like saying goodbye to one's husband can be.
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Imagine a movie set in Paris directed by Ernst Lubitsch, the masterful director of such Parisian sexual innuendo comedies as Ninotchka, The Love Parade, The Merry Widow (1934 version), One Hour with You, and Design for Living. Imagine as the male lead Melvyn Douglas, who was so great in Ninotchka. Imagine as the female lead one of the great European stars of the cinema, a magnificent beauty like Garbo or Dietrich. Imagine that it concerns a Russian countess living in exile in Paris.
But don't imagine that it's another Ninotchka. Far from it. It's Angel, in which all those ingredients that two years later would go to make one of the great Hollywood comedies, with Garbo and Douglas directed by Lubitsch, instead made for one very dull semi-comedy.
Where to put the blame?
The script, certainly, which isn't funny and never seems to know where it's going. Are we supposed to sympathize with Dietrich's character because she's abandoned by her husband, or condemn her for considering infidelity?
The men at Paramount who approved it, and who should have spotted a bomb in the making. It is seldom funny. We seldom care about the characters. (Why did Paramount keep starring Herbert Marshall in pictures? He is just not interesting.) One or two scenes are mildly clever, which was probably Lubitch's doing. The rest verges on stale melodrama. The end isn't convincing.
Taken all together, I'd say forget it. This is one Angel that never takes flight.
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