GEWICHT: 57 kg
Intime Dienste: Nylon- und Strapserotik, Sex im Auto, Oralsex, Rollenspiel, Bondage
Directed by Josef von Sternberg. With Marlene Dietrich , Emil Jannings. There is a rumble of premonition in the fact that the first talking film to make itself heard in this volume and therefore to lead to the sound parade is Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel , made in Germany in For above and beyond this picture's being a mordant work of cinema art and a surprisingly early example of effective wedding of picture and sound, it marks the first all-out screen appearance of a kind of woman and a quality of sex that have become progressively more insistent in the culture of talking films.
Some critics say The Blue Angel is important primarily because it so presciently shows the immaturity and sadism of the German middle class. It does this, beyond any question. In its singular contemplation of the sudden disintegration of a pillar of bourgeois society under the quick, corrosive influence of a strong application of gutter sex, it starkly reveals the imperfection and fraudulence of the facade of middle-class decency and discipline that is ponderous hero represents.
It sourly suggests the soggy culture out of which Nazism oozed. And in the sadistic frenzy of the schoolboys to torment and destroy their hated teacher after they have witnessed his weakness for the cabaret girl, we may spot the incipient viciousness of later Hitler Youth.
But I find The Blue Angel most engrossing because of the opening it makes upon the whole darksome, subterranean area of psychoneurotic sex. Where the custom in silent pictures was simply to treat the primal urge as a powerful but usually unholy and sinful appetite that overwhelms men and women by its sheer physical rush and urgency, the revelation in this picture is a sickly image of sex as a passion mixed up with deep obsessions to dominate and get revenge.
And where the evil of it in the silents was mainly its immorality, the evil of it in The Blue Angel is its corruption into a social disease that infects the aggressions of people and causes them to act in debased and vicious ways. The great Professor Rath, its stern protagonist, is no more than a pretty brute whose badgering and bullying of his teenage pupils is apparently his only means of releasing his inhibitions and rewarding his stuffy bachelorhood.