Monday, September 20, 2010

Seductress Pick: Marlene Dietrich

This should be one long long blog entry, in fact, it should be an entire blog. I cannot give enough credit to Marlene Dietrich. As much as I wanted to hate her in my NYU much as I wanted to contradict her in my Columbia days, and as much as I wish I had not fallen in love with her, through all my days...she will always have control. It has been over 30 years since her death, and she is still the original.
I went through a 'which 30's sexpot are-you' thing, and I always came out with Garbo, her big nemesis. I didn't want to like her, but she ended up being that one that I would always be in love with, and if i was my age in the 1930's, the only person I would make love with. Marlene is and always will remain the epitome of sex. period.
I first discovered Marlene in 'Judgement at Nuremberg', where she played the sympathetic wife or a Nazi doctor who was executed, and who Spencer Tracy eventually falls for.
I'm a jew, (not a very good one but whatever) and I would still go for her even though she was the wife of a Nazi. In reality, she was considered one of the biggest opposers of the Nazi regime and helped rescue hundreds of people before the outbreak of the war.
There were so many other sexy, slick, and swanky women around in the 1930's; Jean Harlow, Norma Sherear, Irene Dunne, the list goes on and on...but I think we can all agree how Dietrich distinguished herself. I think my favorite performance of hers is in 'Blonde Venus' (1933), cliche i know, but bear with me. She transforms from this innocent naive little girl, to a doting house frau and mother, to a brazen night club performer. And even in that ridiculous clown wig and gorilla costume, she is irresistible.
It's  believed that she used to suck lemon wedges to get her lips as full and plump as they were, but lets go back.
American audiences, including film geeks like me were captivated by "Der blaue Engel" when she showed her legs and sang:

Falling in Love Again..
Never Wanted To... 
What am I to Do? 
I Can't Help It... 

Here is the thing, there are always going to be rivalries, Jen Aniston vs. Angie Jolie, Crawford vs. conclude...Garbo vs. Dietrich... 

The Winner: Marlene Dietrich 

Why? Here's why...there is no one who had so much attitude, gumption, and just beauty (which is hard to do in competition with Garbo)...She remained the best deviant throughout her life, it wasn't just for Josef Von Sternberg, she kept it through a few decades, one instance where she actually rivaled Marilyn Monroe. She has had affaris with three generations of Kennedy's...who else can say that? 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I adore Marlene Dietrich, along with all her flaws and her narcissism. There was nobody like her and although people are always comparing Garbo and Dietrich... I've always felt that Garbo and Dietrich were really quite different people.

Plus, I've always had a great respect for Dietrich ever since learning about what she did for John Gilbert and his daughter. And she was intelligent; very sharp and was funny in a Dietrich sort of way - I personally wished she did more comedy.

Not to mention, her efforts for WWII. She could have just gone, sung a song or two and go back but she stayed with 'her boys' as she affectionately always called them. Who knew what the Germans would have done to her if she had been caught?

I haven't been able to warm up to Garbo the way I'd fallen in love with Marlene - the one and only.