The Blue Angel
(Der Blaue Engel)

Screening on Film
Directed by Josef von Sternberg.
With Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron.
Germany, 1930, 35mm, black & white, 108 min.
Print source: HFA

The Blue Angel is the first in a cycle of films that Josef von Sternberg would make for and with Marlene Dietrich. While von Sternberg had already achieved success in America with his pioneering gangster film Underworld (1927), the Viennese-born director agreed to go to Berlin to direct Germany’s leading actor, Emil Jannings, in his first starring role for the major German studio ufa. Jannings was cast as a respected, middle-aged school teacher who succumbs to the charms of Lola, a cabaret singer played by the then-unknown Dietrich. Her unforgettable performance in revealing costume—feather boa, top hat, and black stockings—and her smoky incantation of "Falling in Love Again" created a new type of screen femme fatale and set both actress and director on a course that would lead to the most visually arresting and narratively seductive films made in Hollywood in the thirties.


  • Birds One

    Directed by Frans Zwartjes.
    Netherlands, 1968, 16mm, black & white, 7 min.
    Print source: HFA

In this early work by the leading figure of Dutch experimental cinema, Zwartjes focuses on a young woman in entranced play with a mechanical bird.

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Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive: A–D