Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel is one of the most provocative, risqué and taboo-sexual oriented German films of the early 30s. Not only is the film known for being the first major German sound film but also the film that brought the beautiful and legendary actress Marlene Dietrich into international stardom. The Blue Angel portrays all the formulas that made up most of the German Expressionism films of the early 30's which included nightclubs, champagne, cabaret dancers, sex, and perversion; and yet The Blue Angel includes much deeper themes of sadness, shame, loss and humiliation.
Marlene Dietrich's character Lola-Lola is the iconic femme-fatale, a sadomasochist gold-digger that seems to embody the exciting characteristics all men fantasize and lust about, but would never want to have. She is a manipulative and seductive predator who tends to jump from partner to partner to only fulfill her personal needs and sexual desires. Immanuel Rath is one of many men who gets sexually infatuated with Lola-Lola, naïvely getting caught under her seductive spell, and soon enough he is lost. The Blue Angel broke several new taboos for its time and yet the story itself is still as timeless as ever, portraying the tragic downfall of a respected and distinguished professor, and of his shameless transformation into a pathetic cabaret clown, which ultimately descents him into madness.