The Blue Angel

There is usually some reason why a classic film became a classic in the first place. In "The Blue Angel" we revisit the timeless tale of the middle-aged man falling head over heals with a sexy young vamp. In this 1930 German classic (which richly deserves the title, "Classic"), The Blue Angel is the name of a speakeasy where local college boys go to find excitement, buy naughty postcards and have some drinks. Professor Immanuel Roth, played by the amazing Emil Jannings, is a portly fellow with absolutely NO sex appeal or charisma. He spends some wearisome and overly-long scenes with his young charges, ineffectively trying to force them into less decadent pastimes. In thus doing, he first encounters cabaret singer/dancer Lola Lola, played by Marlene Dietrich in this, a career-making role.

By his second encounter with her, he doesn't return home that night. Reprimanded for his scandalous behavior by his superior the next morning at the college, he declares his intention to marry her. Thus begins our story...

Suffice it to say, I found this story to be very affecting. Professor Roth's eventual humiliation is wrenching and complete. You will probably have a two-disc set if you get this from a library or a rental. Play the German version with English captions; the acting will be better and the accents are so fierce in the English version, you wouldn't understand them anyway. They shot the German and the English scenes, one right after the other, but German was the first language of the actors, director and the crew. They seem ill at ease with the foreign tongue and it hurts the quality of their acting.

We are so accustomed to the lickety-split pace of today's movies, we become a little impatient with some scenes that seem too broad, or too long. Just remind yourself that it was over 70 years ago and ALL of those people are probably dead, so cut them some slack!