One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
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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