Blonde Venus - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Blonde Venus Reviews

Page 1 of 4
½ March 29, 2016
Marlene Dietrich is bad again, as she often was for Josef von Sternberg. This time, however, we see that she starts out good -- in a pre-code skinny-dipping scene where she meets future husband Herbert Marshall. When Marshall grows ill with radiation poisoning (he is a chemist), she goes back to the stage from whence she came to raise money for his treatment in Europe. But instead the money comes from millionaire Cary Grant who "occupies" her when Marshall is overseas. And helps to take care of her son, Jonny, too. Because yes, not only is Dietrich bad, but she is a bad mother, dragging Jonny all over the USA after Marshall returns early and finds her with Grant (who quickly departs for Europe). With the police after her, and presumed prostitution the only way to raise any cash during the Depression, Dietrich is soon at the end of the road. And then she is the jaded emotionless Dietrich dressed in white tails and top hat back in Paris crooning as we knew she would. Until the ending which rings false (yes, Marshall takes her back). Sternberg keeps things moving at a good clip but can't help a bit of a jarring clash between the scenes with young Dickie Moore and the decadence and degradation found elsewhere (including the notorious "Hot Voodoo" number).
½ February 25, 2016
It's mesmerizing to watch von Sternberg and Dietrich at work in this melodrama, and fun to watch both her and Cary Grant in early roles before they became household names and cinematic legends. One can't help but sense the parallel between this story (Helen giving up her family to be a star) and her real life, as von Sternberg told her to give up her family and life in Germany as he would take her to America and make her a star.
August 27, 2015
This may not be the best Josef von Sternberg and Dietrich combination, but their "worse" is still worth a viewing or two. This film deserves more recognition than it gets, if only for the gorilla dance scene.
February 12, 2015
Pre-Code Dietrich is as good as it gets.
She's got a child in this one, but the movie doesn't suffer or become saccharine because of it. Going from destitute to the toast of Paris in a very short time is hard to buy, but other than that this is life, this is the real stuff. Von Sternberg was a genius.
½ November 20, 2014
It's mesmerizing to watch von Sternberg and Dietrich at work in this melodrama, and fun to watch both her and Cary Grant in early roles before they became household names and cinematic legends. One can't help but sense the parallel between this story (Helen giving up her family to be a star) and her real life, as von Sternberg told her to give up her family and life in Germany as he would take her to America and make her a star.
½ December 6, 2013
classic hollywood & sternberg lovingly outrageous and glorious
June 10, 2013
Slow going but a classic none-the-less.
November 19, 2012
A very inetersting movie and Marlene is so beautiful...OMG.
One of her best.
rubystevens
Super Reviewer
½ November 15, 2012
one of the odder dietrich/sternberg collaborations, this one juxtaposes the decadent high life against comfortable domesticity. i personally take issue with the choice she made haha. includes the famous gorilla suit number and cary grant
½ August 22, 2011
Once again, von Sternberg leads Dietrich to the familiar environment of cabarets and human degradation. Dietrich is very cold (even too much, as if she had no feelings, although things change when circumstances go worst against her: then she shows her face a good actress). Not as good as other Dietrich or Sternberg movies (although it goes better as the plot goes on), but the great fans of this duet will like it. The last scene is impressive about a portrait of the relations between a man and a woman.
½ April 12, 2011
This film, released in the early days of the Production Code, but before the Legion of Decency crack-down of 1934, is a bit of a muddle. On the one hand we have to sympathize with Dietrich, once again filmed in almost a fetishistic way by von Sternberg and yes, she looks fantastic, and she acts quite well here too. But on the other hand, Dietrich's character is a tough cookie, who in the course of the film cheats (okay sure, Cary Grant, we get it, but still), steals, whores, endangers her child, abandons her child (for his own good granted), cheats some more, abandon some more, gets very drunk and très slutty (you get my drift). The director seems to want to have his cake and eat it too by presenting Marlene as the tragic heroine, and by then at the same time make her almost impossibly brazen & 'liberated'. If I could barely invoke sympathy for her character, I doubt the audiences of 1932 felt all that much about her plight.

Basically, this is another von Sternberg-Dietrich collaboration that once again LOOKS fantastic, well-lighted, beautifully scored, and it's gorgeous to look at. Just try not to let the plot distract you from all that beauty...

As a tid-bit: this is Cary Grant's first role - he plays a secondary lead role - despite Mae West's lifelong claim that she discovered Grant and that he had only done 'some screen-tests with starlets' before she personally nabbed him for his memorable part in "She Done Him Wrong". Clearly though, this film predates the Mae West one, both the shooting period and the release, by almost a year.
February 13, 2011
A melodrama with epic moments. Best is the "Hot Voodoo" number where Marlene transforms from a gorilla to a sexy african siren in 2 minutes flat! AMAZING! Plot a little trite and acting a bit stiff. Catch also the creepy sexual undertones between Marlene and her YOUNG son.
½ November 3, 2010
of course, it's incredible: marlene, cary grant and josef von sternberg. a bit weirdly built charcters though...
October 22, 2010
A Wonderfully directed movie. Some may be turned away by it's over dramatic and, at times, predicable nature. Wonderful imagery and imaginative light work. A universally photogenic film. My personal favorite from Sternberg.
September 27, 2010
Although I have plenty of Dietrich to cover before I pass on, this was the best I've seen so far. What a heartbreaking yet tender tale! I'm glad I finally discovered where 'Falling in Love Again (Can't Help It) came from.
Super Reviewer
½ September 3, 2010
I didn't get this movie. If people would have taken more time to discuss their problems the story would have been a lot different. It was just stupid to me, but the acting was good, so I didn't rate it so low.
August 16, 2010
A beautifully shot black and white film, directed by master Joseph von Sternberg. Marlene Dietrich looks absolutely stunning in every single scene or angle. Highlight: Marlene - dressed in a gorilla outfit - sings "Hot Voodoo".
August 13, 2010
creepy but full of pre-code stuff
½ August 9, 2010
Encore une fois Sternberg retrouve sa vedette fétiche Marlène Dietrich dans ce mélodrame qui se passe encore une fois dans le milieu du music hall (cf. "L'ange bleu"). Un film plaisant, même s'il a du mal à cacher sa morale bien pensante judéo-chrétienne: la femme qui a péchée (même pour une bonne cause) devra expiée ses fautes. A noter le numéro de music-hall où Dietrich est déguisée en gorille, un costume incroyablement réaliste pour l'époque.
June 17, 2010
melodrama típico, é outro filme que atrai multidões por causa da sensualidade absurda da dietrich. exceto pelas performances (que dizem muito sobre o exotismo e a ambiguidade sexual da diva), o resto é realmente meio bobo.
Page 1 of 4