Immanuel Rath, an old bachelor, is a professor at the town’s university. When he discovers that some of his pupils often go into a speakeasy, The Blue Angel, to see a dancer, Lola-Lola, he comes there to confront them. One of the most famous images in cinema is to be found in The Blue Angel: Lola (Marlene Dietrich), in revealing black suspenders, sits on a beer-barrel clasping an upraised knee with both hands while she leans slightly back.
Though not Germany’s first sound film, it was at the time the most prestigious and expensive by far. Director von Sternberg had been lured back from Hollywood and, together with producer Erich Pommer, he set about making an adaptation of Heinrich Mann’s novel Professor Unrat. The technically dazzling result is a subtly claustrophobic study of a man’s downfall and a milestone in European cinema.