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Cinematic Time Machine: The Blue Angel

Sunday 22nd September

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Director: Josef von Sternberg

Starring: Marlene Dietrich, Emil Jannings & Kurt Gerron

Rating: PG

Germany 1930, 99mins

Marlene Dietrich steals more than one show in this backstage tragedy about a lowly professor besotted with a cruel and enigmatic singer.

Marlene Dietrich became an immediate international star, and got a sofa named after her at The Electric, on the strength of her performance as the temptress Lola Frohlich in Josef von Sternberg's classic tale of love and obsession. Professor Immanuel Rath (Emil Jannings) is a strict and humorless schoolmaster who is shocked when he discovers the boys in his class have been spending their time at a sleazy cabaret called The Blue Angel, where an entertainer named Lola (Dietrich) keeps the men in thrall and sells suggestive postcards of herself. The Blue Angel was shot in both German and English language versions; the German is preferable, as most of the cast were obviously more expert in that tongue. Dietrich introduced her theme song, "Falling In Love Again", in this picture.

Marlene Dietrich’s iconic cabaret singer is as mesmeric as ever in Josef von Sternberg’s masterpiece of erotic obsession ★★★★★ The Guardian

Here, she’s much more like a real person, and Lola is far more complex than the evil, scheming sluts of silent melodrama. Dietrich shows Lola’s compassion for her degraded husband as well as her estrangement from him, and (of course) is stunning on stage ★★★★ Empire

Dietrich outshines her older co-star in the first of seven films she made with von Sternberg — one of the greatest actor/director partnerships in cinema history. ★★★★★ The Times