"It is odd that Germany should still be trying to convince the world that there is something diverting about a woman's undergarments." So sniffed The Sunday Express in 1930. If the continuing success of the Ann Summers chain is anything to go by, Josef von Sternberg was ahead rather than behind the times when he made the divinely decadent Blue Angel. Even without Dietrich, this film would be a masterpiece. Check out the lighting for a start, not to mention the creation of an entire world through expert cinematography and control of tone. Emil Jannings is quite simply stunning as a respectable man reduced to degradation at the hands of devil-may- care Dietrich. Her iconic performance in her first (and crucial) collaboration with von Sternberg defined an entire cabaret style and became the voice of Weimar decadence. Unmissable, especially in this lustrous new BFI print.
David BenedictReuse content