Marlene Dietrich (and her legs) steal every moment in the film as showgirl that steals the dignity of Emil Jannings. Jannings' acting is underrated as he starts as a stiff pompous teacher almost being a caricature before breaking totally down ending up as a sad love-driven clown that loses both his status, job and friends to a woman who sees him as a fool. Perfect direction and technical merits too.
I was surprised at how young Dietrich looks in this film then realized she was all of about 21. As Ebert wrote The Blue Angel "is intriguing for its glimpses of backstage life in shabby German postwar vaudeville, and for Dietrich's performance, which seems to float above the action as if she's stepping fastidiously across gutters."
3-4. There's kind of a tough call about evaluating this one. In order to accept the bite of this film, we have to place value on Immanuel's status as a professor. But the film seems to draw cruel delight from his humiliation, even though we can't really critique him from existentialist premises because the consequences of that lifestyle are clearly on display. Though evocative, its premises are oddly ambiguous.
German Expressionism, I have found, is not necessarily something easy for me to swallow. This is just a matter of taste. That being said, von Sternberg is working in a world that is suffocating and slow. Prof. Rath, from the get go is a sympathetic character, in dealing with children he detests and attempting to exist within the middle class morality of the Weimar Republic, is he brought to madness by desire.
saw this again recently remembering it was very good - surprised at how great it turned out to be. dietrich's star presence is in full flower and she steals the picture from emil jannings (who is excellent himself). one of the great "amour fou" films ever made.