This paper intends to compare two movies, which, no doubt, both are masterpieces of the film industry. The analysis of the masterpiece is a challenging task. The emotions and impressions after watching each one of them are so intense that expressing or describing is a challenge. However, both movies share the masterpiece mark. In all other respects, they are very different. The reason behind the differences is that almost a century separates them from each other.
The Blue Angel was shot in 1930 with Marlene Dietrich and Emil Jannings starring the major characters. The 1930 version of the movie should not be mistakenly confused with its 1959 remake, which starred May Britt and Curt Jurgens. The original movie was produced in both English and German languages. It was directed by Josef von Sternberg. On the April 1st, 1930 The Blue Angel picture was released in Germany, while the American premiere took place on the fifth of December 1930. The film is the first significant sound film shot in Germany (Thomson & Bordwell , 2009). An interesting fact is that both English and German versions were filmed at the same time. However, the English version was believed to be lost for years.
The main character of the movie, Immanuel Rath, is a teacher at a gymnasium, preparing high school children to enter colleges. He catches a few of his students at exchanging photos of a beautiful girl - Lola-Lola, a headline singer at a local cabaret. He punishes them for inappropriate behavior. However, he thinks that it may not be a bad idea to catch them at watching her performance. He goes to the cabaret, where he meets Lola instead of his students. The teacher becomes obsessed with the desire for her. He comes back next evening and they spend the night together.
After the wonderful night with Lola, Mr. Rath is late for his classes. He comes back to school to find his class in chaos, and the principal is furious and angry with teacher’s behavior. As a consequence, he is fired and leaves his work happily, since he is about to marry Lola. His savings last them for a short while; he has to look for a job, and ends up being a clown in Lola's troupe. Besides, Mr. Rath becomes jealous of Lola, he hates the thought of her being everybody’s woman. Moreover, soon the main character finds his wife in the arms of another man kissing. He is out of his mind with anger and frustration. Thus, he tries to take Lola away from her new lover, but it was not a successful endeavor. Beaten up and unhappy he returns to his classroom at night to meet his death at his desk. The teacher’s desk is the place where everything started; it is a piece of his previous, quiet life.
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It is important to know, that Nazi Germany forbid the movie three years after its release in 1933. The reason was rather simple: all the movies shot by the director were forbidden at that time in Germany. The censorship was based on the personality of the director rather than the contents of the film. Besides, there were numerous stage adaptations to meet the censors’ requirements.
The movie is a brilliant example of a tragedy. All major elements of a tragedy are present in the movie: the audience finds the main character experience a personal disaster in the picture finale. The fact that it was the first Germany's sound movie makes The Blue Angel even more outstanding. Moreover, despite a general rule, this early movie was an example of excellent filmmaking. Watching it nowadays is a great pleasure, and not only for a specialist in the field, but for any spectator. In the first part of the XX century, little was known about the techniques of shooting films, the equipment was inefficient; the options of video editing were very much limited. Thus, the success of the movies depended on the talent of the actors and moviemakers involved. Marlene Dietrich was indeed a talented person and an outstanding actress, who walked ahead of her time, showing the way of film industry to the others.
However, there was more to the film than the great mixture of an outstandingly talented director, who was believed to be one of the greatest film directors of all times (Wakeman, 1987), and the excellent actress Marlene Dietrich the team, which resulted in the great success of the picture. Particular attention should be paid to the music. Music is a crucial element in this picture. Moreover, it presented the opportunity to see another side of Marlene’s talent – she is an amazing singer. In fact, her singing creates the mood of the film. Moreover, as The Blue Angel was the first German sound film, Marlene’s voice for long times is associated with German movie screen.
Charlie St. Cloud movie presents a different story to the audience. The movie was shot 80 years later with professional equipment. Moreover, it was released in the world, where cinematography was already a developed industry and a traditional branch of art. The movie was directed by Bur Steers and had yet another advantage: it was shot based on a bestselling novel written by Ben Sherwood. Moreover, a number of brilliant and well-known actors, including Zac Efron, were involved in the picture, which could contribute to the success of the film. However, there is a disadvantage of Charlie St. Cloud when compared with The Blue Angel - the competition in the German film industry in 1930 was rather easy if compared to the competition in the film industry of global market in 2010. The categories of movies are different, so the comparison may be challenging.