Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lack of Inhibition

More on Blue Angel - interacting with Jeff a bit.

It's late. I'm having trouble sleeping. I agree with you, Jeff, in your description of Dietrich. It is the easy confidence which is striking.

I do think that there is some indication that her character may have legitimately fallen for Teach based on his acting nobly toward her. She's not all bad and not entirely predatory.

As far as the film being close to a silent film, I agree totally. Von Sternberg, like King Vidor or Alfred Hitchcock or Chaplin knew how to tell a story visually and continued to do so skillfully into the talkie era. Confidently. In a way that far too few directors are capable of today. That said, Sternberg's use of sound is far advanced over what his contemporaries were doing. I've seen enough films from 1929 specifically and the early '30s in general to judge that Blue Angel has a great soundtrack. Particularly interesting is the "blocking off" of sound, most noticeable when the dressing room door would open and close, giving temporary access to the sounds on stage while open and closing off the characters in relative silence while closed. As you note, the singing is important and provides a commentary on the themes and relationships. Just in general, the film sounds good compared to some other films from the period which sound awful.

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