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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mining the implausible
Dietrich and Von Sternberg in their prime did something with film melodrama that remains unique. The stories are confections, yet the confection of story-making in their hands is so captivating it is able to touch deep emotions and transcend the purely melodramatic. It is nearer opera than film drama in its reliance on artifice and illusion. This spy story is as useful,...
Published on 15 Jun 2011 by WSH

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An early Marlene
I saw this film on TV many years ago and enjoyed seeing it again, mainly because it is one of the few films that show Austria-Hungary in the setting of the First World War. Marlene Dietrich is a spy for the Austro-Hungarian secret service (the Evidence Bureau). She is hunted by a Russian spy, who is evenutally captured. Marlene's love for him overcomes her patriotism and...
Published on 15 Sep 2012 by Kerry R.J. Tattersall


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mining the implausible, 15 Jun 2011
By 
WSH (NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dishonored [DVD] (DVD)
Dietrich and Von Sternberg in their prime did something with film melodrama that remains unique. The stories are confections, yet the confection of story-making in their hands is so captivating it is able to touch deep emotions and transcend the purely melodramatic. It is nearer opera than film drama in its reliance on artifice and illusion. This spy story is as useful, as history, as their portrait of Catherine the Great in "Scarlet Empress", but the historical setting of spy-versus-spy in World War One is merely a tool: the retort in which actors (Victor McLaglan also makes a major contribution to this production) and director mix their chemicals. There are many striking images, penetrating lines of dialogue and wonderfully choreographed scenes. Among the most memorable: Dietrich's lightly seductive embrace of a piano prior to pouring out a passionate sonata; McLaglan's carousing with his spy-rival the night before her planned execution; and Dietrich offered a blindfold and using it to wipe the tears of the officer commanding the firing squad. Storyline and plausibility, history and narrative fade to insignificance when the lights do down and these cinema magicians begin their tricks.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dishonored- But Virtuous, 24 Feb 2011
This review is from: Dishonored [DVD] (DVD)
A stylish and at times, hard hitting film from the collaborative pairing of Dietrich and von Sternberg, "Dishonored" is an exercise in what a director can do when he transfers his stock in trade (in this case melodrama), and puts it against a grandiose setting (the horrors of the First World War).
However, that is not to say that this war/ spy story is about guts and glory- rather, it is more the case of if spying were a game between two lovers, this is how the world of espionage would operate. Josef von Sternberg's view of the Eastern Front in the Great War is one of run down villages, highly decorated Russian and Austrian generals and perpetual snow.
Overall, this film is a highly entertaining piece of melodrama with colourful characters, a very strong cast (Victor McLaglan is superb as a Russian spy), and excellent direction from one of the masters of Hollywood film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An early Marlene, 15 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Dishonored [DVD] (DVD)
I saw this film on TV many years ago and enjoyed seeing it again, mainly because it is one of the few films that show Austria-Hungary in the setting of the First World War. Marlene Dietrich is a spy for the Austro-Hungarian secret service (the Evidence Bureau). She is hunted by a Russian spy, who is evenutally captured. Marlene's love for him overcomes her patriotism and leads inevidably to a firing squad. Of course Austria-Hungary had been on the "other" side in the war, while Tsarist Russia had been America's ally. I always remembered the scene at the New Year's party, because this is one of the few films that played the correct Austrian Anthem (today Germany's anthem!). The film is a bit improbable and the acting is far from today's standards, but it is an entertaining film to watch, and certainly one for Dietrich fans.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish Marlene Dietrich in 1931 melodrama, 3 April 2013
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This review is from: Dishonored [DVD] (DVD)
Stylish melodrama with the very cool and self-assured Marlene Dietrich, complete with smouldering looks and powerful presence. The story is a bit slow at times, but watching this 1931 film (both image and sound are very good) is a real treat: powerful emotions, fantastic period clothes and gripping human drama.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marlene when she was fat, 5 April 2010
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W. Russell - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dishonored [DVD] (DVD)
The fascinating this is Dietrich starts off her career as qute a sturdy lass and in this early piece of Ruritanian nonsense she is every inch, several of them, a Fraulein. She plaus a spy, a widow forced to turn to prostitution to survive, who meets, and falls in love with a Russian secret agent played by Victor McLaglen. In his youth he was quite a dashing chap, not the amiable drunk of all those later Westerns. It all ends badly. How else? Directed by Joesf von Sternberg, the man who made her a star, it is hugely enjoyable, a period piece of course, but if only they could make them like this today.
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Dishonored [DVD]
Dishonored [DVD] by Josef von Sternberg (DVD - 2008)
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