Morocco Reviews

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dietmountaindew
Super Reviewer
½ November 18, 2007
the notable legendary bond of marlene dietrich/joserf von sternberg in the 30s...particularly the one scene dietrich wears tuxedo strutting imperiously then kisses a woman arrogantly as if she were a man that was deemed defyingly ultra-sexy in a conservative time of 30s...dietrich became the female martini idol who made millions of closet lesbians drooling endlessly, and also titilated male audience with a provocative sense of vanquishing lust.....except this offbeat gendre-ambiguous breakthru and sternberg's artsy lighting in black and white, the rest of the movie sinks into a conventional mode of love story between cabaret singer and a flippant soldier(gary cooper) trapped by the circumstance of war and seedy past...of course there's an un-requited suave provider (adolpe menjou) who loves her unconditionally but only rewarded with a hasty big hug rushly like an unworthy sap.

could "morcocco" be considered milestone of feministic assertion since dietrich built her self-sufficient vixen facade by this movie?... perhaps not. it might be an intense feministic declaration of self-choasen will for love since she selects to chase behind the soldier barefoot in the desert (who flings around with women and could offer nothing but a wide innocent smile) instead of the selflessly patient gentleman who politely awaits her in the cozy limousine....it is a strong sense of self-chosen will indeed, but ironically it's like being the necglectful queen of an respectful worshiper but an romorseless dedicated slave to a ghetto hulk. somehow sadistically mosochistic. just like one fashion editor once remarks, dietrich combines the dublicity of a queen and a whore.

maybe behind the grandeur facade of every shrewd vixen dwells a soul of petite woman who clings even to the shade silhouette of her beloved man. perhaps ideologically speaking, it's deliberantly arranged so since the bourgeois mass(the majority of movie-goers) would identify more with cooper machismo than the polished chivalry of adolphe menjou.

something worthy a mention, adolphe menjou was spotted as the typecasting of charming rich gentleman since charlie chaplin's "a woman of paris", and menjou was prestigous for his appropritately aristocratic presence...maybe only william power could be the competent equivalent for his rackishly witty image in "the thin man" series.
Super Reviewer
½ May 2, 2007
You think you're in love? Watch this and you might want to reexamine. One of the most romantic endings ever.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ July 21, 2005
[font=Century Gothic][color=navy]"A Farewell to Arms" starts out in Itay in World War I. Catherine(Helen Hayes) is a nurse from England. Frederic(Gary Cooper) is an expatriate from the United States, former architecture student and now an ambulance driver. They meet and fall in love. This is an undeniably romantic film about people who live life with the constant possibility that it could all end tomorrow. But the finale is certainly over the top and Adolphe Menjou sports a rather comical Italian accent.[/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#000080][/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=darkgreen]"Morocco" is about a vaudeville performer, Amy Jolly(Marlene Dietrich), who is on her way to colonial Morocco, apparently to get away from someone or something. On the way there, she meets a wealthy businessman(Adolphe Menjou). At her debut performance in Morocco, she wears a tuxedo, flirts with men as well as women and encounters roguish Foreign Legionnaire, Tom Brown(Gary Cooper) in the cheap seats. Brown apparently has a woman at every oasis. "Morocco" is an enjoyable film about finding love in the least likeliest places.[/color][/font]
Super Reviewer
½ January 6, 2014
Through a cracky copy of this film, we see a young Gary Cooper and Marlene Dietrich doing her thing before and beyond what the Code would ever permit. It is probably the only interesting part to the film. I don't know if was jaded at seeing such a poor copy but the thrills were few and far between.
Super Reviewer
June 10, 2010
This absolutely iconic film has remained in cinema history for the famous crossdressing scene, where Marlene Dietrich in a frock-coat sings and flirts with both men and women (landing a pretty impressive kiss on one of the female spectators). That's ofcourse before she falls stupidly in love with one of the soldiers who is as infatuated as she is, only he won't admit it to anyone but himself. That being said, you have nothing more to expect from this film (ok it was the 30s and that was pretty advanced even for that day and age). Impressive American debut for Marlene but a fairly average film for the abilities of Josef Von Sternberg.
July 19, 2010
Morocco (1930)

I never was much of a fan of Marlene Dietrich. I loved her in "Blue Angel" (1930) where she portrayed truly a femme fatale that men fell hard for. But, once Joef von Sternberg brought her to the states, she always played these wildly exotic women who, like Garbo, always get involved in these romantic triangles, and always leaves the rich suitor to chase after the handsome poor one.

This is the same for this movie, her first in the States. Cabaret singer, Amy Jolly (Dietrich) arrives in Morocco and bumps into Monsieur La Bessiere (Adolphe Menjou) who immediately falls in love with her. Bessiere is rich and knows all kinds of different people. However, he's a realist though and knows that Amy is a free spirit, who picks her own friends.

Tom Brown (Gary Cooper) is in the French Foreign Legion. Although his uniform is kind of scruffy, it's got a lot of medals on it. However, Tom has got a fatal weakness for the ladies. Perhaps his cavalier attitude with women is what got him in the Foreign Legion to begin with, where nobody asks you about your past. Maybe it's because Tom's always marching off from here to there, that he only deals with local hookers, or at least women of very easy virtue.

When Amy meets Tom in her club, the attraction is electric. And, although Tom plays it cool, he's as madly in love with Amy as she in him. He actually contemplates going AWOL and running away with Amy until he sees all of her other adoring fans and all of their flowers and champagne, and thinks better of it. It's better to stay with the girls you know, but surprisingly, Amy keeps showing up.
½ May 24, 2010
I was very excited to see this film I love vS and Marlene and Gary too. Unfortunately, this one is very far from the great movies of these sacred monsters. It feels like the director is not quite yet used to sound, as a result the action often feels artificial and above all terribly slow. Worse even, the film lacks this one big wonderful scene that would make all the rest worthwhile. Just to make matters a touch worse, it is often difficult to understand what on earth motivates the actions of the characters; consequently it is no surprise that there is no real ending to the film. I wouldn't advise any one to see it, even die-hard fans. The only clearly good point though is to see Marlene still very young singing looking very German but with a wonderful French accent.
½ November 20, 2014
Though I greatly prefer the silent films von Sternberg made, he was certainly no slouch when Marlene Dietrich was in front of the camera and sound entered the picture, either. Still, von Sternberg, by being so visually magical behind the camera, was one of the best at keeping the magic of silent cinema intact even in the transition to 'talkies'. This, as all his films with the sultry singer/actress, are essential for any serious film enthusiast.
ray
½ March 26, 2013
Filme wie Morocco" werden heutzutage ganz einfach nicht mehr gemacht. Welchem Genre solch ein Film auch zuzuordnen ist, es ist ausgestorben.
Heutige Rom-Coms behandeln keine Soldaten und Tänzerinnen in Marokko mehr, und vor allem ersetzen sie den Charme von einer Dietrich oder eines Gary Coopers durch PG-13 Erotik aus der Dose.

Was für den modernen Zuseher als erstes ins Auge springt sind die formidablen Kostüme und Sets. Ganz ohne große establishing shots" und on-location shooting" ist Morocco" bis in die Zehenspitzen atmosphärisch aufgeladen. Diese engen Gassen der Altstadt von Mogador, akzentuiert von harten Schatten in denen Räuber lauern zeugen von Josef von Sternbergs visuellem Genie.
Dass er weiß Marlene Dietrich in Szene zu setzen war schon von deren ersten Zusammenarbeit in Der blaue Engel" bekannt. Hier geht er einen Schritt weiter und steckt die Dietrich in Frack und Zylinder und betont deren kesse und burschikose Gangart.
Dies ist klassisches Hollywoodkino in Reinkultur, mit exotischer Location, charismatischen Hauptdarstellern und ohne großartigen Ideen oder einfallsreichen Dialogen.

Dieser Film, nur einer von vielen, verdankt seinen Ruhm der unvergleichlichen Atmosphäre und der wunderbaren Dreiecksbeziehung zwischen Dietrich, Cooper und Menjou.
Für Kinogänger in den 1930er Jahren mögen Afrika und Fremdenlegionäre noch um vieles mystischer gewesen sein als heute, aber gerade Filme wie Morocco" laden dazu ein, sich in diese Zeiten zurückzuversetzen und den Mythos der Fremdenlegion, der bis heute existiert, wirken zu lassen.
½ October 21, 2012
The sole reason for me to watch this black and white classic is Marlene Dietrich, courtesy of the fact that it gave her the one and only Oscar-nomination in her entire career. And it is a delight to find out Gary Cooper is her co-star (gosh he is really at his prime, particularly in his army uniform), and the director at helm is Josef von Sternberg, Ms. Dietrichâ(TM)s long-time collaborator, no wonder even the heartthrob Cooper does not stand any chance to steal her thunder (so is a very underused Adolphe Menjou).

Truly, this film is all about Marlene, her neutral sexuality is exuding all over the screen with the top hat and the tuxedo when she renders her mesmerising performance as the chanteuse in the cabaret (not to mention the notorious girl-girl kiss scene, it must be a sensational topic at that time, it was 1930!). At the same time her quaint flair as a woman trapped in love but too proud to admit it in front of her beloved man has its momentum to propel the film with its uneven plot. I may be too harsh, the film is made 82 years ago, in the wake of talkie era, so I readjust my original rating from 4 to 5.

The patchwork of its very much run-of-the-mill script and camera movements (there are some rather frivolous shots of battle scenes which might fall into the laughingstock notch) are pretty much dated and ruefully, Ms. Dietrich cannot single-handedly save the film (her then English accent is still a bit grating, hope Iâ(TM)m not the only one to say that), the entire film doesnâ(TM)t sell the story in a fully credible structure, many details are being sidelined while the sentimentality is lingering on and on, or perhaps it is just another film fails to connect with when time mercilessly passes by. But last but not the least, its classic way of sending the âdare to loveâ? message is warm and encourage, the final bravura of pursuing her lover in the march has its own merit in that time, if I may divine.
½ August 22, 2012
Seriously, was this supposed to be romantic??
MD was hot though.
December 9, 2011
Early film from 1930 stills has entertainment value. During World War I, an American infantry unit enters a cafe in Morocco, for which soldier Gary Cooper is part of. There, he meets a flirtatious female singer, Marlene Dietrich, and they begin to entangle in brief, but deep relationship. However, Cooper begins to fall for another woman (Eve Southern), who is married, and the relationship between him and Dietrich disintigrates. Has not mainly stood the test of time, but it is an interesting movie in the sense that it shows two of the most famous stars on screen during the transition from silent to talkie films. Only an hour and a half in length, so worth more than a glance.
½ February 23, 2011
Morocco in its bare form is a love story set in Morocco during some war or something. The film would probably have been boring without the presence of Cooper and Dietrich who both gave excellent performances. This love story should have been stretched into a melodrama but it doesn't. It restrains any superfluous emotion and remains down to earth. Also, Morocco probably has one of the greatest endings ever. (Marlene Dietrich is unconventionally beautiful!)
½ February 20, 2011
Gary Cooper is one handsome devil and that last scene was one for the ages...
½ February 13, 2011
Wonderful for Marlene's steely devil may care attitude and her INFAMOUS lesbian kiss on screen with a nightclub patron
July 20, 2010
The opening scene of MOROCCO shows a native Moroccan attempting to move his stubborn mule from the middle of a road. In the background is a formation of French Legionnaires steadily marching forward. The Moroccan knows his mule is blocking the road and desperately pulls it's reins in an attempt to move the animal to the side of the road - but the animal refuses to budge...

This little vignette best symbolizes the main drama to come - and especially describes the relationship between the two main characters, Mlle. Amy Jolly (Marlene Dietrich) and Legionnaire Tom Brown (Gary Cooper). Despite their strong attraction to one another - they each cannot fully commit themselves to the other. Something in their nature stubbornly holds them back...

Director Josef Von Sternberg made MOROCCO in Hollywood and was his follow-up to the very successful DER BLAUE ENGEL (THE BLUE ANGEL). In fact, the first part of MOROCCO seems so much like DER BLAUE ENGEL that you could mistake it for a remake. Both films star Marlene Dietrich. Her character Lola Lola in DER BLAUE ENGEL has a lot in common with Amy Jolly in MOROCCO. Both films showcase the singing of bawdy songs. Both take place in a nightclub with an older man falling for Dietrich's characters. The older gentleman in MOROCCO is Monsieur La Bessiere (Adolphe Menjou) - a wealthy frenchman trying to win Mlle. Jolly's heart...but she is at first ambivalent to his advances:

- "Every time a man has tried to help me, there has been a price. What's yours?"
- "My price?.......a smile."
- "I don't think I have much more..."

MOROCCO begins to diverge from DER BLAUE ENGEL's story arc with Amy Jolly's developing relationship with the young and handsome legionnaire portrayed by Gary Cooper. Cooper seems a strange pick to play opposite the exotic Dietrich and his familiar "aw-shucks" performance nearly derails this film for me...but at the time, Cooper was Paramount's top star and that was all that really mattered. Cooper was handsome and sexy... and Dietrich was pretty and sexy. It's all about the hormones really...!!!

In classic films - Morocco seemed the ideal place to run away from one's past. Rick Blaine did it in CASABLANCA. So too Amy Jolly and Tom Brown in MOROCCO:

"When I crashed The Legion - I ditched the past", explains Tom on how he came to be in Morocco.
Amy Jolly looks at Tom - "There is a foreign legion of women too....but we have no uniforms, no flags, no medals".

I haven't seen very many of Joseph Von Sternberg's films - but the ones I have seen are beautifully filmed. His sets always seem so sumptuous. MOROCCO is no exception. It's as exotic looking as it's title suggests. I'm finding that the more I watch MOROCCO, the more I like it - which was my experience too with THE BLUE ANGEL. I thought MOROCCO has a terrific beginning and ending. I won't divulge exactly why I like the beginning so you can discover for yourself. I try not to read too much about a film prior to watching it - so an iconic moment in MOROCCO wasn't spoiled for me. It's the reason I enjoy watching pre-code films.

But I will leave you instead with this bit dialogue from the film:
Cooper's legionnaire character, who is supposed to be standing at attention, spots a prostitute from across the street. She silently gestures with her fingers how much she will cost for a good time. Cooper silently gestures back a counter-offer with his fingers. A sergeant nearby spots Cooper gesturing and yells at him for not standing at attention:

"What are you doing with your fingers?!?!"
"Nothing. Yet."

8.5

Ranking the Josef Von Sternberg films I have seen so far:

THE BLUE ANGEL - 10
THE SCARLET EMPRESS - 9
MOROCCO - 8.5
SHANGHAI EXPRESS - 8.5
MACAO - 7

need to see more!
½ July 15, 2009
*** (out of four)

In her American film debut, Marlene Dietrich shines as a seductive cabaret singer in Morocco. She becomes involved with a wealthy man (Adolphe Menjou) and a handsome Foreign Legionaire (Gary Cooper).

The romantic elements are intriguing and director Josef Von Sternberg shows how much the camera loves Dietrich. She is stunning.
August 24, 2006
Directed by Josef von Sternberg
Starring Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper

Almost every scene in the movie is unbearable to watch with the cardboard characters and dialogues, thus ending with raised eyebrows after every cuts and fade outs. The only thing worthy is Dietrich in her song numbers which are halfway between being novelty or a treasured act. Cooper is cartoonish as a foreign legion who defies his superiors because he can get away for being macho and cool. When Dietrich is not singing, her arms seemed to be affixed upon her waist. There is a well-known ending with Dietrich following the Legionnaires march in the desert and a long tracking shot of soldiers but that needed rapport between the two leads was severely lacking. And the movie fails in that respect.
Best Scene: Dietrich?s apples.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ July 21, 2005
[font=Century Gothic][color=navy]"A Farewell to Arms" starts out in Itay in World War I. Catherine(Helen Hayes) is a nurse from England. Frederic(Gary Cooper) is an expatriate from the United States, former architecture student and now an ambulance driver. They meet and fall in love. This is an undeniably romantic film about people who live life with the constant possibility that it could all end tomorrow. But the finale is certainly over the top and Adolphe Menjou sports a rather comical Italian accent.[/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#000080][/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=darkgreen]"Morocco" is about a vaudeville performer, Amy Jolly(Marlene Dietrich), who is on her way to colonial Morocco, apparently to get away from someone or something. On the way there, she meets a wealthy businessman(Adolphe Menjou). At her debut performance in Morocco, she wears a tuxedo, flirts with men as well as women and encounters roguish Foreign Legionnaire, Tom Brown(Gary Cooper) in the cheap seats. Brown apparently has a woman at every oasis. "Morocco" is an enjoyable film about finding love in the least likeliest places.[/color][/font]
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