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Friday, July 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 70.0° F  Overcast
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The Blue Angel
Rated NR
A fat, perspiring martinet of a high school teacher wanders into the Blue Angel cabaret one night after discovering the commotion it causes among his students; there he falls under the spell of a leggy, smoky-eyed chanteuse named Lola-Lola and begins a plummet into madness, jealousy and disgrace. Josef Von Sternberg's early sound classic - which provided Emil Jannings with one of his finest roles, and introduced the world to Marlene Dietrich - is one of the screen's great portrayals of romantic masochism, and the height of Sternberg's particular brand of visually dense, languorous film poetics. When Jannings sits before his mirror, slowly daubing on his clown make-up, his eyes faintly registering the irrevocable waste of his life, we experience one of those magnificent jolts that film alone can offer; the eternal eloquence of the passionate performance, the perfectly chosen image.
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