My first experience watching a film on The Auteurs site. The quality was great. The subtitles were mixed up only a couple times.
I loved it!! The German style cinematography and art decoration. The style that would be lost in Germany and taken to Hollywood when Hitler came to power. This movie takes place from 1925 to 1929 before the Nazis took over. It is a closer to real life look at the same time and culture that Cabaret portrays.
Emil Jannings was the first actor honored with the best actor Academy Award. I have only seen one other performance of his. But it was impressive and so was this role. Dietrich is seductive and husky voiced as Lola, but younger and not as husky voiced as she was in Witness for the Prosecution. The staff at the burlesque club Der Blaue Engel is like a family. Jannings is a professor at a local University and the dynamics of his classroom show that nothing much has changed. Three of his students are regulars at The Blue Angel. Professor Immanuel Rath is the picture of repression and routine. He tries so hard to keep the young men in his class in line and goes himself to the club to kick them out. He is so out of his element at the club and interacting with Lola. These early scenes have a lot of humor. Through chance circumstances he must return to the club and he ends up acting the part of a knight coming to the rescue of the lady’s honor, at least the honor he imagines Lola has. Ultimately it is a tragic story, as Rath never finds his backbone and loves/trusts Lola too innocently. He falls into the “family” business, at first selling pinup postcards of his new wife, then inheriting the degrading clown assistant position for the magician/manager.
The dialog as translated in the subtitles surprised me with its natural flow and sophistication. The dialog strongly reveals the attitude of the culture before restrictions, whether from Germany or Hollywood, limited how sexuality particularly could be shown or mentioned in the movies.