|Angela Carter on Lulu and Lola Lola
||[Sep. 19th, 2006|01:17 pm]
the Angela Carter Community
Reading Angela Carter’s essay on Pandora’s Box and The Blue Angel in her collection of essays and journalism, Nothing Sacred, inspired me to watch The Blue Angel yet again tonight. While The Blue Angel is often seen as a film about a femme fatale who draws an innocent man to his destruction Carter sees it rather differently. She sees Lola Lola as a positive character, a strong woman in charge of her sexuality, who is in no way responsible for the unfortunate fate of Professor Rath (Emil Jannings). She sees the Professor as a monster who thoroughly deserves his fate. Watching the movie again I’m inclined to agree with her. He really is a very unpleasant man – a pompous ass, a bully, and a fool. The clown he later becomes is already there in embryo. Lola Lola really does nothing to bring about his downfall. He pursues her. Perhaps she should have discouraged him, but she was simply too soft-hearted to do so. Her crime was to be nice to him. She doesn't trap him into marriage – the marriage is entirely his idea. And it’s not as if she ever pretended to be anything other than she is. If he chose not to see the reality of the woman she was, if he chose to believe that she was going to become something different, then he’s simply made the mistake of falling in love with his own fantasy of her, rather than with the actual woman. His spiral downwards into degradation and depression, and self-pity, seems to be entirely his own work too. After all, did he really expect to keep his position as a professor at the grammar school after marrying her? And given the state that he gets himself into it’s remarkable that Lola Lola continues to have a certain affection for him, and continues to support him. Professor Rath’s fate may be tragic, but it’s a tragedy of his own making. |
With any luck tomorrow I’ll get a chance to watch Pandora’s Box again.