Morocco - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Morocco Reviews

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August 13, 2015
Very thin story, and unfortunately the star power of Dietrich and Cooper didn't do much for me in this film.
March 29, 2015
cooper & dietrich sizzle in this pre-code adventure pic
October 11, 2013
Morocco tells the story of a world-weary singer called Amy Jolly (Marlene Dietrich) who winds up singing in a club in Morocco and falls in love with Tom Brown, a soldier in the foreign legion (Gary Cooper). The film is littered with love triangles and subverted gender roles - Amy loves Tom, the army captain's wife loves Tom, Tom loves no one (except maybe Amy), a wealthy socialite loves Amy, and so on. For most of the film Tom and Amy dance round each other; ego, pride and fear standing in the way of them declaring how they truly feel. In the end, however, it's Amy who gives in and chases after Tom when his battalion leaves town.

The sexual and dominant character of Amy Jolly is more than a nod to Dietrich's own unsubtle brand of bisexuality, and Morocco is undoubtedly most famous for the figure of Dietrich dragged-up on stage in top hat and tails, cigarette hanging from her lips, a sexy come-to-bed stare fixed on the crowd. In the first part of the film Dietrich cuts a cynical, fiercely independent, masculine figure who relies on no one and never asks for help - she lazily tears up the business card of the wealthy socialite who offers to show her round the town. The most overt display of this masculinity comes in the form of Dietrich sauntering up to a woman in the audience while in drag and kissing her full on the lips. Tom meanwhile appears to be head-over-heels, watching Amy in the crowd like some doe-eyed fangirl. This role reversal of Amy as suave man-about-town and Tom as submissive, adoring woman is realised by Amy handing Tom a flower and Tom tucking it behind his ear.

As the film progresses, however, we see the gender roles revert back to their more traditional forms. Tom becomes stubborn and proud, refusing to commit to Amy who has become an archetypal weak and helpless woman hopelessly in love with her man (so much so that she melodramatically follows him into battle). Indeed, the only role that doesn't revert back to a traditional stereotype is that of the rich socialite who remains besotted with Amy throughout the film (and is therefore 'feminised').

Morocco is a great piece of subversive cinema that was clearly way ahead of its time in its portrayal of gender and sexuality. Cooper is fantastic as Tom Brown but it's Dietrich, of course, who is the star of this film. Although still very young, you can already see her coming into her own as the super-sexy, dominant leading lady with the smoky voice that she would become years later in more mainstream films. It's not the most engaging story, and the dialogue is a little clunky, but it's a rare example of how brazen, bold and sexy cinema could be.
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.
½ June 30, 2013
I've never seen a more dedicated love story. There really is nothing else to it, no plot beyond the romantic flirtations of the two chief protagonists, the depth of whose feelings appear to grow at a rather astonishing, almost alarming rate. To any more experienced heart, Marlene's (predictable) flight into the desert seems downright manic. The way this subplot has been stretched to feature length film is equally surprising. On a less cynical note, fewer options for depicting the mechanics of romantic entanglements in 1930 may be a consideration here.
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.
August 11, 2010
I can tell this is a great movie, but unfortunately, I didn't see a clean copy. I need to see a clean version to properly admire the visuals. Like the later movies 'Algiers' and 'Casablanca', this is an extremely atmospheric depiction of Northern Africa under French colonial rule. And while the love story is old fashioned and dated, it is romantic as all heck with a really moving ending. My only real complaint is that there's a very confusing scene midway through the movie that I couldn't even comprehend after going back to review it again. It left me lost for quite a long time. Do yourself a huge favour and don't watch this on youtube - it's too good for that.
½ June 16, 2013
Odd little piece that shows how awkward the transition from Silent to 'Talky' was in the case of some genres. Here we have a very small amount of plot, not a lot of dialogue and a lot of stuff that acts as filler and seems 'tagged on'. However, because it's von Sternberg when it works it sparkles with his trademark studied magnificence. Dietrich is beguiling as ever here, and Gary Cooper smoulders. This is pure escapism, and given the age you do have to just watch it as a museum piece. Not ALL the films from this era suffer from this 'looks-like-a-silent-film-but-isn't' syndrome, but we have this here in spades in the first part, apart from THOSE iconic moments that were the beginning of Dietrich The Legend. In the end, that's what this well-directed film adds up to- an advert for The New Star You're Going To Love. You want to resist such blatant showboating, but you just can't. All style and no substance, and bizarrely all the more interesting for it. Von Sternberg was just getting warmed up for his future masterpieces.
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.
August 14, 2012
I wish the DVD wasn't so soft because it barely does justice to this great film.
March 22, 2012
One of my ever favorites!!
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.
November 28, 2011
The Foreign Legion and true love...
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
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