While I was working on my essay about the best picture of 1929-30, it occurred to me I've written about all of the nominees at some length—except for Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel, the movie that made Marlene Dietrich an international star.
As stories go, it's nearly a carbon copy of Pandora's Box with Marlene Dietrich playing Lola Lola, a singer/prostitute who leads a stuffy college professor (Emil Jannings) to his destruction. Unlike Louise Brooks's innocent take on her spiritual sister, Lulu, Dietrich plays Lola Lola as more of a vampy femme fatale. Not bad, highly regarded.
There are actually two versions of The Blue Angel, shot simultaneously, one in English for American and British release, the other (Der Blaue Engel) in German for the rest of Europe. This was actually a common practice back in the day, it being technically easier at the time to shoot a scene twice than to dub the film with a foreign language. Which one you choose to see is up to you. Many cinephiles prefer the German version simply because Dietrich and Jannings are more comfortable with their native language, but it turns out I'm more comfortable with mine and so I am more likely to watch it in English.
Which, admittedly, makes me a philistine.
Anyway, the English language version introduced Dietrich singing what became her signature song, "Falling In Love Again," and I present it here for your entertainment.
So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, Marlene Dietrich and "Falling In Love Again."
Hangin' out in the lobby: Billie Dove
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