Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0
No consensus yet.
Release Date: Mar 2, 1984 Wide
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 196
The fifth directorial effort of German film star Maximillian Schell, Marlene is an unorthodox documentary of the legendary Marlene Dietrich. After years of resisting Schell's entreaties, Dietrich finally agreed to participate in this project-but refused to appear on camera. Thus, a tape recording of a Dietrich-Schell interview is heard throughout, while the screen is filled with images of Marlene culled from stills, dramatic films (The Blue Angel, Shanghai Express et. al.) and newsreel footage.
Mar 2, 1984 Wide
Oct 6, 2009
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I think we learn much more about Dietrich than we would have if she had submitted to the usual paint-by-numbers, fawning Biography Channel type of film.
The result is a fascinating document, not only of the star herself, but also of the documentary as personal process.
The bilingual parrying between the withholding diva and her frustrated chronicler often seems like Sunset Boulevard re-imagined as a radio play, with sex removed from the equation but marlenus interruptus aplenty.
Schell uses the limiting conditions-Dietrich did't let him photograph her-to an advantage, resulting in a revelatory work that's more interesting because of the combative relationship with his subject, a star wishing to keep control to the bitter end
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