The Blue Angel: A Film by Josef von Sternberg
. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968.
I was told by Josef von Sternberg
, who is directing my Tragedy, that `America has nothing to learn from Europe', forgetting probably that he was born in Vienna.
Dir: Josef von Sternberg
. Cast: George Bancroft, Fay Wray, Richard Arlen, Tully Marshall.
Yet famed director Josef von Sternberg
once said that "every film is fiction because it is contrived." More over, the idea that a documentary should have a propagandistic or subjective point of view is widespread among filmmakers and can be traced back to Russian director Dziga Vertov, whose idea that "art is not a mirror which reflects the historical struggle but a weapon of that struggle" became an inspiration for many documentarians.
I recently saw the widely released and new-looking print of Citizen Kane and, coincidentally on TV, The Scarlet Empress (1934) by Josef von Sternberg
. How much alike the two movies look and sound and feel--a kinship some cineaste (quaint appellation) should explore.
His caricature of a corrupt and tyrannical schoolmaster, Professor Unrat oder das Ende eines Tyrannen (1905; translated as Small Town Tyrant, 1944), was the basis for Josef Von Sternberg
's famous film The Blue Angel (1930).
Jannings also stars in Josef von Sternberg
's "The Blue Angel," the film that put Marlene Dietrich on the map and which is widely considered to be the first major German sound film.
Their sheer CinemaScopic polish aside, the photogtaphs in Crewdson's series "Beneath the Roses," 2004-2007, a large selection of which made up this exhibition, suggest in their extraordinary lighting the work of a present-day Josef von Sternberg
. But, unlike Sternberg, who cobbled together perfectly lit mise-en-scenes of a generic Morocco or Spain for Marlene Dietrich vehicles, Crewdson creates perfectly lit, fictive portraits of blue-collar New England towns--in this instance, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, although it could be, really, any number of places where, long ago, the wooden frame house gave way to cinder block and aluminum siding.
Marlene Dietrich and Josef Von Sternberg
. Chapters address the following topics: the seminal films of obsessive love, postwar sexual/romantic implosion, the fugitive couple, and the male and female gazes.
Quentin was so determined to cast Uma -whom he describes as Dietrich to his Josef von Sternberg
-in the part he wrote specially for her, that he delayed production for a year in order to give her time to have her baby and then slim down to her fighting weight.
There he became an apprentice at UFA Studios, and observed such film masters as Josef von Sternberg
, Fritz Lang, F.W.