Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. Germany, 1930. Universum Film, UFA Tonfilm. Screenplay by Carl Zuckmayer, Karl Vollmoller, Robert Liebmann, English dialogue by Carl Winston, based on the novel Professor Unrat by Heinrich Mann. Cinematography by Gunther Rittau, Hans Schneeberger. Produced by Erich Pommer. Music by Friedrich Hollaender. Production Design by Otto Hunte. Costume Design by Tihamer Varady. Film Editing by Sam Winston.
As dubbing or subtitling had not yet become a possibility, this film (like many of its time), was filmed in English and German with the same cast and sets. As in the German version, Emil Jannings plays a straight-laced professor who disapproves of his students spending time at a cabaret watching performer Lola (Marlene Dietrich in her starmaking role). When he goes there to drag them out of the place by force, he sees her and falls madly in love, marrying her and following her to his own ruin. It’s still the classic that you love in German, but for some reason the fire had gone out by the time they filmed this version; everything that’s fresh and dangerous about the German film, which still stands up today, is not as potent here. Fans of the star and director will want to see both versions, as there are slight differences in plot and editing that are worth noting.