Josef Von Sternberg Geoffrey Wagner - Essay

Geoffrey Wagner

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The] personal theme of The Blue Angel foreshadows an impending social disaster. Sadism was about to be unleashed in mass form in Germany and the film is, of course, a study of the spiritual torture and humiliation of a small-town man with whom everyone can readily identify himself. (p. 49)

[From the outset], the professor is haunted by the figure of the clown in the background, for he, the man of ideals, is himself a clown in the world of The Blue Angel. Thus at the beginning, when the professor first enters, the cabaret is shown as chaotic, almost surrealistic, with its whirling clouds, miasmic veils, and shifting backdrops; at the end, when he is part of it, it is steady, and brutal...

(The entire section is 525 words.)