A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Blue Angel -- in Blu-ray

Robert Harris

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Fully a part of that great German film movement during the Wiemar Republic -- from 1919 to 1933, Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel (1930), has many of the same pictorial textures that you'll find in that great silent opus about a somnambulist. Having sampled Kino's new Blu-ray of the German version, it appears the best that I've seen it -- usually in 16mm -- but with some footage in 35. Digital cleaning is obvious in main titles, but not really problematic or intrusive during the body of the film. Gray scale and black levels are what would expect for dupes, albeit quality dupes. Aspect ratio is proper at 1.19:1, and the track has no problematic passages. While some may find fault with the image or audio, this Blu-ray is a quality affair, and we're unlikely to find anything better. The important thing is to keep in mind, not only the age of the film, but the survival of only dupe elements. Something interesting needs to be pointed out in regard to Mr. von Sternberg. Probably most famous for his early to mid-thirties Paramount productions with Marlene Dietrich, Sternberg, who was born in Austria-Hungary in 1894, was making silent films in Hollywood, before returning to Germany to do The Blue Angel for UFA. His final film, Jet Pilot, with John Wayne and a very young Janet Leigh, was released in late 1957, but produced between December 1949 and February 1950. When the word "classic" is used to reference a film, The Blue Angel is a perfect example, which stands the test of time beautifully. Emil Jannings, who also played the hotel porter in F.W. Murnau's The Last Laugh in 1924, was at the top of his game. Actually, an interesting comparison. Image - 3 (doubtful that it can be better) Audio - 2.5 (ditto) I'd have love to have seen the English version offered along with the German, but presume rights issues may have come to the fore. Pity. Very Highly Recommended. RAH
 

haineshisway

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I've got the UK Blu of The Blue Angel - it's supposed to be a bit better even than the US and it DOES include the English version.
 

Robert Harris

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Originally Posted by haineshisway
I've got the UK Blu of The Blue Angel - it's supposed to be a bit better even than the US and it DOES include the English version.
Is the UK region locked, and how does the English language version appear?
 

Matt Hough

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Originally Posted by haineshisway
I've got the UK Blu of The Blue Angel - it's supposed to be a bit better even than the US and it DOES include the English version.
Thanks for that information. Any real fan of The Blue Angel would want both versions.
 

haineshisway

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Robert Harris said:
Is the UK region locked, and how does the English language version appear?
It says region B, so it's probably locked. I'll check out the English version tomorrow and report back.
 

Mark Edward Heuck

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Kino previously offered the English version in their original DVD release of the German-language version - I'm guessing they omitted it from this release due to substandard elements.
 

Ken Volok

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I'd think it'd be easier to get a nicer English language print than the German.
 

Mark Mayes

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I got the UK edition--it's definitely locked. It really looks good (probably the same edition that Kino offers via the Murnau Stiftung.) The English-languaged version is included in HD and is considerably brighter and contains a caveat before the film about the quality. The extras are really good and contain an essay by Tag Gallegher that's a little dry but informative (with a delicious clip of "Ich und die Kaiserin" directed by Hollaender and starring Lilian Harvey) and a commentary byTony Rayns on the German-languaged version. The Dietrich screen test is on there as well as an interview with Dietrich in 1971 and 3 of her concert clips. There are also trailers and a 48 page booklet with fine pictures.
 

EddieLarkin

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Ken Volok said:
I'd think it'd be easier to get a nicer English language print than the German.
David Hare said the following regarding the English version on the MoC disc on criterionforum: It should be noted the English language version comes from a far superior element, much closer to a fine grain 35 or an O-neg. Surface damage is less frequent and grain structure is much finer the German version. But the positive has gone through 35mm printing (perhaps push printing?) which renders it much lighter and paler than it should be. There is virtually no true black and contrast is flattened. While some aspects of this are pleasing to the eye I don’t believe they represent an ideal color/tonal balance. http://www.criterionforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=12211&start=25
 

Ed Lachmann

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I've got the year old German Region B issue BD which has the English version with English subs and the restored German version, which looks great but (to my sad surprise) has NO English subs. The blurb on Amazon Germany's site stated English subs, but not that that was only for one version. Oops! I've been through it and the little German I do remember helped to some extent, but it was a definitely a "challenging" experience. This one also has the same Dietrich concert clips and the interview. Another one I should have waited for!
 

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