THE BLUE ANGEL
DER BLAUE ENGEL
1930, Kino Lorber, 106 min, Germany, Dir: Josef Von Sternberg

Emil Jannings is the repressed professor who falls head-over-heels for bawdy cabaret chanteuse Lola-Lola (Marlene Dietrich). It’s a liaison that will jumpstart the engine of his self-destruction, immolating both his private and public life till only ashes are left. The classic that scandalized international audiences and started the collaboration between Von Sternberg and Dietrich, setting the tone for the characters and motifs found in their subsequent efforts together.


SHANGHAI EXPRESS
1932, Universal, 80 min, USA, Dir: Josef Von Sternberg

“It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily.” Fallen woman Marlene Dietrich just happens to run into her former boyfriend, British army captain Clive Brook, on a train hurtling through wartime China, in what many consider the high point of the Dietrich/Von Sternberg cycle. Along for the ride are some of Hollywood’s greatest supporting players of the day: lovely Anna May Wong, bullfrog-voiced Eugene Pallette and Warner Oland (doing a sinister spin on his Far East Charlie Chan persona).


MOROCCO
1930, Universal, 91 min, USA, Dir: Josef Von Sternberg

“You’d better go now, I’m beginning to like you,” purrs cabaret singer Marlene Dietrich to cocky young soldier boy Gary Cooper. If you’re going to see just one Foreign Legion movie, make it MOROCCO: Dietrich (in her first American film appearance) and Cooper are downright gorgeous, and Von Sternberg transforms the two-bit cantinas and barracks of Mogador into a splendid landscape of light & shadow.


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