The Blue Angel

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Year Released: 1930
Rating: 2.0

Hapless, moralistic college professor (Emil Jannings) discovers his students are frequenting "The Blue Angel" - a cabaret club that specializes in innuendo - and wants to catch them there, only to become enthralled with the club's main attraction, Lola Lola (Marlene Dietrich), himself. Jannings is dimwitted and naïve to the point of being pathetic, which makes him not worthy of the torture and insanity he has brought upon him later in the picture. I didn't like Jannings' performance - he's in a perpetual state of shock at Dietrich's "lusty" insinuations (the film overplays his stunned 'repulsion' to the point where his 'innocence' becomes almost vaudevillian) - but von Sternberg doesn't help much with some rather puzzling moralizing (falling in love with someone 'beneath you' socially is reprehensible?) and sadistic intentions.