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on 29 January 2011
This is a beautiful transfer of a surprisingly wide-ranging film. The plot-line can be summarised very briefly, but von Sternberg was not a director content with recycling tired images. He has created a visually stunning film, once again. Dietrich is fabulous as mother, performer, mistress, street walker, and mother again. Herbert Marshall's character is well handled by von Sternberg - who often symbolically shoots him in silhouette or hidden in shadows. The supporting cast (including Cary Grant) all contribute full-voltage performances, and the child actor who plays Dietrich and Marshall's son does very well indeed. My expectations for this film were far exceeded. It is a great example of the high cinema craft of the 1930s.
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on 28 March 2008
I've been lured by the five star ratings credited to this film. Marlene is divine as she moves between roles as top billing cabaret act Helen Jones and perfect wife and mother. When husband needs money for life saving medical treatment in Europe, Cary Grant's deep pockets provide the wherewithal. What Marlene does for the $1500 is not made absolutely clear, but whatever it is, she gets some super new frocks. Hubby comes back a week, fully recovered, finds Marlene on the gallivant with Grant. She's obliged to flee with sonny boy, but ends up in skid alley in the deep south, is eventually found by hubby who takes off with the little boy. Dietrich gets back on top of the bill again, this time in Paris, and Cary turns up to see the show and then to carry her back to NYC. From the film we learn what we all know, good women enjoy washing their kids at bedtime and singing a lullaby far more than clubbing at the Ritz.
It's a lovely film, for all its corniness: the quirky dialogue and dated uncomfortable slang make you wince, but it's early days cinema, and you enjoy its innocence - if only I could believe that the lovely girls fall for the slippers and cardigans rather than the tuxedo and wallet.
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on 30 September 2009
Director Josef von Sternberg collaborated with Marlene Dietrich to make highly successful movies at the height of depression era when silent movie transitioned to sound movies. The list includes; Blonde Venus, Morocco, Dishonored, Shanghai Express, The Scarlet Empress, and The Devil is a Woman. Marlene Dietrich is not only beautiful but also an excellent actress. She offers brilliant performance as Helen Faraday who runs around the country to avoid authorities taking her only son, Johnny (Dickie Moore) from her, and give it the custody of her husband Edward Faraday (Herbert Marshall). One would like to remember another great classic, Madame X, starring Lana Turner and John Forsythe where a mother is separated from her son and she longs to get back to her son. The difference being the latter is highly dramatized which makes a grown-man cry. Director Sternberg has brilliantly handled this movie into a different direction which spares the viewers from agony. Yet the legendary lady of Hollywood fascinates viewers as a tender mother strongly protecting her child, who spends her evenings singing at the local night club, and be at home to offer her deep maternal love. She does her best to be very alluring. It touches us deeply when she tries to teach her son from a book like a school teacher or lullaby at his bedside.

The story has a twist in that Helen's unselfish nature to help her husband get treatment in Germany for radiation poisoning. She finds a willing millionaire Nick Townsend (Cary Grant), who helps her with cash needed. She lies to Edward that the money is advance on her salary from her boss Dan O'Connor (Robert O'Conner). After his treatment in Germany Edward finds out about Helen's infidelity, and demands the custody of Johnny. Helen and Nick meet again in Paris and agree to get married but at the end Edward and Helen unite to stay together.

The movie has interesting features; while Marlene Dietrich's singing is s a little rustic, but the film featuring live chickens in her French Quarter apartment in New Orleans is a nice touch. Hattie McDaniel as Helen's New Orleans maid Cora offers her best performance as a protective friend of Helen. This is a very touching story and I recommend it highly.

1. Scarlet Empress [DVD] [1934]
2. Shanghai Express [DVD] [1932]
3. The Blue Angel - - Two Disc Special Edition [DVD] [1930]
4. Morocco [DVD] [1930]
5. Angel [DVD] [1937]
6. Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
7. Portrait in Black/Madame X [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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on 11 May 2013
Every child should be given the opportunity to see great cinema and to see its origins. Worth concentrating on every moment.
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on 12 April 2014
Loved it, especially with Cary Grant in it. Good story line, well written, directed and memorable performances from both Marlene Dietrich and Cary Grant( another on my list of favourite British actors.) 5 stars!! Enjoy!!
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on 24 July 2016
Excellent 5 star service from this 1st class seller. Very highly recommended. Many thanks.
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on 11 March 2015
good and in time
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on 10 April 2015
Seen better
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on 7 April 2015
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on 10 February 2012
I would have awarded fewer stars but that would have been to ignore the fact that this film was made in the era when such escapism was the norm, even when it featured leaps in the plot that were quite illogical and incredible. Unlike other reviewers I found Marlene Dietrich quite unconvincing at the end of the film as she forsakes her millionaire fiancé and her personality as a headlining cabaret act to reunite with her husband who had forthrightly rejected her after her unfaithfulness. Sudden shifts in the plot e.g. from down and out in a flophouse to star in Paris without explanation of how this was accomplished strain one's ability to suspend disbelief. I guess the conformism of such surrender of a strong woman to renewed domesticity was just what American guardians of moral rectitude wanted to see.

And the songs that Marlene's character sings are dreadful, even for cabaret numbers.

I have a great liking for films of the Thirties from all countries but this is not one of the greats.
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