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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Looking at the criticisms so far voiced about Angel, the majority seems to feel it's a neglected Lubitsch masterpiece. Yet this was the film that caused Paramount and Marlene Dietrich to come to a parting of the ways. Marlene would not be back on the screen until she signed a new contract with Universal and made a comeback of sorts in something that would have been unthinkable for her in 1937. That film was a western, but the western was Destry Rides Again.
Ernest Lubitsch and Marlene Dietrich hit a double dry spell in Angel. The sum and substance of it is that up and coming young British diplomat Melvyn Douglas meets a mysterious and alluring woman at Laura Hope Crews's palace in Paris who he falls hopelessly for. But the alluring as ever Marlene is merely the very bored wife of a senior diplomat who is a member of the nobility, Herbert Marshall. It also turns out that Douglas and Marshall are old army buddies.
Somehow Lubitsch could not work his usual magic with Marlene. Her scenes with the two men seem to have no spark to them. In fact the ending is a bit of a shock, personally I think she made the wrong choice.
Where Lubitsch did well in Angel was with the supporting players. Laura Hope Crews is quite a bit different as the worldly countess than as that pillar of southern society Aunt Pittypat Hamilton from Gone With The Wind. Some of the back and forth commentary between Marshall's butler Ernest Cossart and his valet Edward Everett Horton are also quite droll. What snobs those servants can be, much worse than the people who employ them.
Sad to say Angel is a film with a lot of gloss, but no real substance behind it.
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