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The Blue Angel

The Blue Angel(1959)

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A December 1955 Los Angeles Times news item stated that Twentieth Century-Fox had quietly acquired the rights to the 1930 Ufa film The Blue Angel as a possible vehicle for Marilyn Monroe. The studio bought the rights from an alien property custodian after the German film was seized during World War II, according to a December 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item. That item also noted that Josef von Sternberg, the director of the German film [which was also released in an English-language version], sued Fox for misappropriation of property rights, claiming that he owned the rights to remake the picture. Von Sternberg charged that the 1959 film debased the original, which ended with "Rath" going mad and returning to his schoolroom to die. The outcome of the suit is unknown.
       According to March and September 1958 Hollywood Reporter news items, Daniel Fuchs was initially hired to write the screenplay of the remake and Charles Vidor was to direct. An April 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that Lou Jacobi was considered for the role of "Kiepert." The Variety review notes that exterior filming was done in Rothenburg, Bavaria. The Blue Angel was producer Jack Cummings first release for Twentieth Century-Fox.
       The New York Times review scathingly commented that Swedish-born actress May Britt, who played "Lola," behaved "more like a ballet dancer in a Broadway musical than a sex pot in a smoky night club in Berlin," and that this depiction undermined the whole story, as did the happy ending. The Variety review added that one of the pictures shortcomings was its contemporary setting. According to a March 1957 Los Angeles Times news item, Ufa had wanted Marlene Dietrich, who starred as Lola in the 1930 version, to appear in a sequel. The sequel was never made, however. The song "Falling in Love Again" was used in the 1930s version and became Dietrich's signature tune.