Archive for The Blue Angel

The Sunday Intertitle (for some reason on Saturday): Under the Sea

Posted in FILM, Politics with tags , , , on February 3, 2018 by dcairns

AEGIR, billed as “A Festive Film,” is in fact a German propaganda effort from 1918, though it tries to be festive by taking a fantastical, mythological view of the war. Aegir, our protagonist, is sort of the Norse Neptune, though of lower rank. And the guy playing him here, one Wilhelm Diegelmann, looks a lot like the heavy-set, slo-mo beard guy who’s the most disappointing element of JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS. Curiously, his face is made up a nice dusky shade, but his torso is a gleaming white: nobody thought to powder his moobs.

(Diegelmann would go on to work for Lubitsch several times and appears in THE BLUE ANGEL.)

Aegir is having a great time because the U-boats are sinking lots of ships and sending their supplies to the bottom of the sea where he can enjoy them at his lavish aquatic banquets, served up by mermaids on wires.

Eventually he visits his benefactors, leading to the odd sight of a topless man with a trident standing on the deck of an actual for-realz Unterseeboot. He even sits down to a glass of “fine English whisky” (there’s no such thing) he’s had retrieved from  torpedoed wreck.

The movie resolves into a tour of inspection of the mighty German navy, month or maybe days before its total surrender. Aegir dons a flying jacket and boards a sea plane, his pallid, sinewy legs a pitiful spectacle as he tries to manoeuvre his unwieldy trident into the cockpit. There’s a sentence you don’t see every day.

There’s a visit to Berlin, then to a German destroyer. Everyone is pleased to see the mythical jötunn or demi-god. I expect he makes a nice break in the routine.

Aegir urges Germany, in the form of the movie camera observing him, to buy war bonds, “~ and let a happy peace be the reward for your steadfastness!”

Germany immediately surrenders.

Deluxe Angel

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on October 29, 2009 by dcairns


Head over to The Auteurs’ Notebook, damen und herren, where Miss Lola Lola has a little concertina she’d like you to cast an appraising eye over.

But for this, the latest edition of The Forgotten, you might want to wear your shades…

Quote of the Day: The Incredible Bulk

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on December 21, 2008 by dcairns


Josef Von Sternberg on Emil Jannings ~

“He was a magnificently bulky man who had the many characters he had portrayed firmly embedded in his person, and had a powerful array of demons everpresent in his make-up. Fat and ungainly, with a complete memory for his own tricks, shifty like a pellet of quicksilver, agile in his repertoire of misbehaviour, he was the perfect actor. His forte was to portray the zenith of personal misfortune; his limpid eyes brimming with misery, he could pucture debasement in the most abject terms. To be humiliated was for him ecstasy. Shrewdly aware of his own pranks, powerful as he was as a box-office figure, he would always choose the most formidable directors to restrain and guide him. Aside from his objections to my choice of Dietrich, he opposed me every step of the way. This cannot be seen in the film, even I cannot see it. He gives a competent performance and there is no trace of any obstruction and the untold blocks he laid down to his interpretation and that of the others. As THE BLUE ANGEL recedes into time, he becomes more and more effective. And that he ended his days as a senator of culture for the Nazis (and to me he boasted that his mother was a Jewess) will be forgotten long before the perishable celluloid crumbles into ashes.”

(But I’ll just remind you in case you were likely to have already forgotten.)

Also, in this introduction by Von S:

“The workmen assigned to me were competent. One of them brought his eleven-year-old daughter to watch the scenes and when I objected, saying that she would be corrupted, he remarked ‘Ach, die ist ja schon so verborden!’ (But she is already so corrupt!)”

Image from the mighty Six Martinis and the Seventh Art.