Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich

Highest Rated: 100% Marlene (1984)

Lowest Rated: 40% The Garden of Allah (1936)

Birthday: Dec 27, 1901

Birthplace: Berlin-Schöneberg, Germany

At the peak of her career in the 1930s, Marlene Dietrich was the screen's highest-paid actress; moreover, she was also the very essence of cinematic eroticism, a beguiling creature whose almost supernatural allure established her among film's most enduring icons. While immensely sensual, Dietrich's persona was also strangely androgynous; her fondness for masculine attire -- suits, top hats, and the like -- not only spawned a fashion craze, it also created an added dimension of sexual ambiguity which served to make her even more magnetic. Born Maria Magdalena Dietrich outside of Berlin on December 27, 1901, she was the daughter of a Royal Prussian Police lieutenant. As a child, she studied the violin, and later tenured at the Deutsche Theaterschule. She made her film debut with a brief role in 1923's Der Kleine Napoleon, followed by a more substantial performance in Tragodie der Liebe; she later married the picture's casting director, Rudolf Sieber. After a series of other tiny roles, including an appearance in G.W. Pabst's 1924 effort Die Freudlose Gasse, Dietrich briefly retired; by 1926, however, she was back onscreen in Manion Lescaut, later followed by Alexander Korda's Madame Wuenscht Keine Kinder. After returning to the stage, Dietrich resumed her film career, typically cast as a coquettish socialite; still, she remained better known as a live performer, enjoying great success singing the songs of Mischa Spoliansky in a popular revue. Then, according to legend, director Josef von Sternberg claimed to have discovered her appearing in the cabaret Zwei Kravatten, and cast her in his 1930 film Der Blaue Engel; even before the picture premiered, von Sternberg offered a rough cut to his American studio Paramount, who signed her for Morocco, where she played a cabaret singer romancing both Adolph Menjou and Gary Cooper. Both films premiered in New York almost simultaneously, and overnight Dietrich was a star. Paramount signed her to a more long-term contract, at a cost of 125,000 dollars per film and with von Sternberg, who had become her lover, in the director's seat of each. The studio, in an unprecedented five-million-dollar publicity blitz, marketed her as a rival to Greta Garbo's supremacy; upon learning that Garbo was starring as Mata Hari, Paramount cast Dietrich as a spy in 1931's Dishonored in response. The follow-up, 1932's Shanghai Express, was Dietrich and von Sternberg's biggest American success. With Cary Grant, she then starred in Blonde Venus, but when the picture did not meet studio expectations, Paramount decided to separate the star from her director. Not only their working relationship was in a state of flux -- von Sternberg's wife unsuccessfully sued Dietrich (who had left her husband behind in Germany) for "alienation of affection" and libel. For Rouben Mamoulian, she starred in 1933's The Song of Songs amidst a flurry of rumors that she was on the verge of returning to Germany - no less than Adolf Hitler himself had ordered her to come back. However, Dietrich remained in the States, and her films were consequently banned in her homeland. Instead, she played Catherine the Grea in von Sternberg's 1934 epic The Scarlet Empress; it was a financial disaster, as was their follow-up, the lavish The Devil Is a Woman. In its wake, von Sternberg announced he had taken Dietrich as far as he could, and begged off of future projects. A much-relieved Paramount set about finding her projects which would be more marketable, if less opulent. The first was the 1936 romantic comedy Desire, directed by Ernst Lubitsch. It was a hit, with all indications pointing to comedy as the best direction for Dietrich's career to take. Again with Lubitsch, she began work on I Loved a Soldier, but after a few days, production was halted after she refused to continue following a number of changes to the script. Instead, Dietrich next starred in the Technicolor remake of The Garden of Allah, followed by Korda's Knight Without Armour. Reunit

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Martin Roumagnac (The Room Upstairs) Actor 2011
No Score Yet Die Frau, nach der man sich sehnt (Three Loves) Actor 2010
No Score Yet Why Be Good? Sexuality and Censorship in Early Cinema Actor 2008
No Score Yet Marlene Dietrich: An Evening With Actor 2004
100% Marlene Actor 1984
No Score Yet Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo (Just A Gigolo) Baroness von Semering 1979
No Score Yet Obyknovennyy fashizm (Triumph Over Violence) Actor 1968
50% Paris When It Sizzles Herself 1964
No Score Yet The Black Fox Narrator 1963
91% Judgment at Nuremberg Mme. Bertholt 1961
96% Touch of Evil Tanya 1958
100% Witness for the Prosecution Christine Helm Vole 1957
No Score Yet The Montecarlo Story (Montecarlo) Maria de Crevecoeur 1957
71% Around the World in 80 Days Hostess 1956
100% Rancho Notorious Altar Keane 1952
No Score Yet No Highway in the Sky Monica Teasdale 1951
90% Stage Fright Charlotte Inwood 1950
No Score Yet Jigsaw Nightclub Patron 1949
100% A Foreign Affair Erika von Schluetow 1948
No Score Yet Golden Earrings Lydia 1947
No Score Yet Kismet Jamilla 1944
No Score Yet Follow the Boys Herself - Guest Star 1944
No Score Yet Pittsburgh Josie Winters 1942
No Score Yet The Spoilers Cherry Malotte 1942
No Score Yet The Lady Is Willing Elizabeth Madden 1942
No Score Yet The Flame of New Orleans Countess Claire Ledoux, aka Lili 1941
No Score Yet Manpower Fay Duval 1941
No Score Yet Seven Sinners Bijou Blanche 1940
95% Destry Rides Again Frenchy 1939
No Score Yet Angel Maria Barker 1937
No Score Yet Knight Without Armour Alexandra Vladinoff 1937
40% The Garden of Allah Domini Enfilden 1936
No Score Yet Desire Madeleine de Beaupre 1936
67% The Devil Is a Woman Concha Perez 1935
88% The Scarlet Empress Princess Sophia Frederica/Catherine II 1934
No Score Yet The Song of Songs Lily Czepanek 1933
53% Blonde Venus Helen Faraday/Helen Jones 1932
96% Shanghai Express Shanghai Lily 1932
100% Dishonored Marie Kolverer 1931
100% Morocco Amy Jolly 1930
95% Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) Lola Frohlich 1930
No Score Yet Woman Men Yearn For Stasha 1929
No Score Yet Ship of Lost Men Actor 1929
No Score Yet Manon Lescaut Micheline 1926
75% The Joyless Street Extra 1925
No Score Yet Comradeship Actor 1919


Mme. Bertholt says: I wish you understood German. The words are very beautiful. Very sad. Much sadder than the English words.

Mme. Bertholt says: My husband was a military man all his life. He was entitled to a soldier's death. He asked for that. I tried to get that for him, just that, that he would die with some honor. I went from official to official. I begged for that. That he be permitted the dignity of a firing squad. You know what happened? He was hanged with the others... and after that, I knew what it was to hate. I never left the house, I never left the room. I drank. I hated with every fiber of my being. I hated every American I had ever known.

Mme. Bertholt says: You see, I have a mission with the Americans, as Mr. Perkins can tell you.

Judge Dan Haywood says: What is that?

Mme. Bertholt says: To convince you that we're not all monsters.

Mme. Bertholt says: We must forget if we want to go on living.

Mme. Bertholt says: Listen to me... there are things that happened on both sides. My husband was a military man, had been all his life. He was entitled to a soldier's death; he asked for that. I tried to get that for him, just that and he would die with some honor. I went from official to offical. I begged for that, I begged for that, that he should be permitted the dignity of a firing squad. You know what happened. He was hanged with the others, and after that, I knew what it was to hate. I never left the house. I never left the room. I drank. I hated with every fiber of my being, I hated every American I'd ever known. But one can't live with hate. I know that. We have to forget. We have to go on living.

Erika von Schluetow says: What silly shrews American women are.

Tanya says: He was some kind of a man. What does it matter what you say about people?

Shanghai Lily says: It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily.