One of the most famous images in cinema is to be found in "The Blue Angel" (1930). Lola Lola (Marlene Dietrich), in revealing black suspenders, sits on a beer barrel clasping an upraised knee with both hands while she leans slightly back. Though not Germany's first sound film, it was at the time the most prestigious and expensive by far. Director Josef von Sternberg had been lured back from Hollywood and, together with acting star Emil Jannings and producer Erich Pommer, he set about making an adaptation of Heinrich Mann's novel "Professor Unrat". The result is a subtly claustrophobic study of a man's downfall which is a milestone in European cinema. This comprehensive study reconstructs the production history of "The Blue Angel", showing how Sternberg's virtuoso visual style was amply supported by an immensely talented team of actors and technicians. It also analyzes the film's aesthetics, and shows how the grave political situation in Germany reverberated in its seemingly airtight world.