Morocco - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Morocco Reviews

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½ March 13, 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 23, 2011
For movie fans, worth seeing for the star power of Gary Cooper and Marlene Dietrich alone. For others, the pre-code era in which MOROCCO was made allows for the sexy androgyny of Dietrich, and a very good and appropriately ambiguous ending.
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
½ January 5, 2011
Shanghai Express was perfection, of course, but for some reason this film haunts me to this day. I don't know why--a series of indelible moments. Dietrich in tuxedo drag, kissing a girl; Cooper writing a farewell note on a mirror and Dietric masochistically contemplating his message. And that finale, with Dietrich responding to the call of the drums, losing herself in the desert, anticipating the way Debra Winger would, decades later, in The Sheltering Sky...
½ January 4, 2011
This was the second time Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich teamed up together and it's quite good. And the ending, even if it is a very Hollywood ending, is excellent. The image of Dietrich going through the arches into the sand dunes to follow Gary Cooper and the other soldiers is a memorable one. This film is another example that shows the mastery of von Sternberg as purely visual filmmaker. The way he lights Dietrich's face is fantastic as always. Highly recommended viewing. 9/10
½ November 4, 2010
another dietrich and sternberg's perfection
October 17, 2010
There is no questioning Marlene Dietrich‚??s appeal in a film, but her draw is used to disappointing effect in this Josef von Sternberg dud. With no plot and laughable dialogue ‚?? what little there is of it ‚?? not much can be accomplished in watching ‚??Morocco‚?? unless someone has an hour and a half to kill and cannot possibly find anything better to do. Not only is Dietrich underutilized, Gary Cooper turns in such a wooden performance that trees would be offended in being compared to it. Continuing the sexually driven theme of late twenties cinema there is much to be offended by in this film. Sporting misogynistic references and appalling machismo there is little to take in except for a perfect example in the study of ‚??the lover‚??s gaze.‚?? Indeed, there is a lot of looking and very little talking making it obvious that the filmmakers were either afraid to use recorded dialogue or had little faith in their story to begin with. No traceable plot or even a hint of one throughout showcase a difficult viewing experience with no rewards.
October 17, 2010
This is the marriage of an actress and a director who helped define the silent screen and weren't quite ready to surrender themselves to the limitations of sound film structure. It isn't as strong as some of their other collaborations, but it does work as a quiet meditation on the illusion of love and the bizarre back and forth attract/repel nature of man and woman. A hollow Gary Cooper is overshadowed by a haunting Marlene Dietrich who works as both the siren and the victim of this tale, while von Sternberg showcases his uniquely masterful control of the camera and his skill in utilizing the things we can't see, the things that are just off screen- even the things that aren't even visible to begin with, but are suggested with sound motifs and faraway facial expressions.
October 17, 2010
primarily because it's visually stunning considering the age. It could be because of Sternberg‚??s obsession with Marlene and his using light to enhance her features or it could be his opting to shoot on location (albeit not in the Sahara) rather than with the cardboard sets, as was the norm at the time. Whatever the cause, every screenshot was faultless.
½ August 16, 2010
Gorgeous B&W photography. The first american film starring Marlene Dietrich. Highlight: Dietrich - dressed in a tuxedo -kisses another woman at a party.
½ August 4, 2010
Marlene Dietrich -- now that's a movie star.
July 24, 2010
Beautifully shot, and if you weren't in love with Dietrich before seeing this movie, you would be afterward. But even at 90 minutes, the movie is repetitive. Cooper does good work, but he also never seems worthy of Dietrich.
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."


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


need to see more!
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.
July 18, 2010
Oh, this is a very silly movie.
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.
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 February 7, 2010
This is Marlene Dietrich's first Hollywood movie. It's not quite as outstanding as say, "The Blue Angel" but it's a pretty solid film nonetheless. Marlene Dietrich plays a lounge performer in Morocco caught in a love triangle between a legionnaire (Gary Cooper) and a charming rich expatriate (Adolphe Menjou). The film's pretty standard but the three leads are good and the ending is quite moving.
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