31 January 2007

Jamie Lee Curtis in a Dietrich gown?

Shocking. Jamie never played the clotheshorse like Dietrich. Could she really pull off a Dietrich gown? Surely the two ladies share nothing in common. Actually, both have ties to nobility. And both have woefully meager bust sizes. And both have had their sex organs put in question. Back to the gown in question, Curtis apparently wore it at the 1984 Oscars, and it was recently modeled at a private runway show called "A Celebration of Oscar Fashion." This article describes it as an "ivory beaded confection" once belonging to Dietrich from 1942. Anyone have photos of it from the oh-so-exclusive private runway show or on Dietrich/Curtis themselves?


No, those are not cubic zirconia! The artist Vik Muniz's 2004 work deifies Dietrich with diamonds. You can view it at the Baltic Centre in Gateshead, U.K. Read more here.

30 January 2007

The Best Marlene Dietrich (Sorta) Tribute Video of the Week!

The Best Marlene Dietrich (Sorta) Tribute Video of the Week!

Lets hope this works! It's not all Dietrich but it's all in good fun!

Liz Smith hammers out some damage control

Amidst the titillating headlines about Dietrich the phone sex operator, there is one about Dietrich the war hero. None other than Liz Smith, Larry King's female counterpart in bland celebrity journalism, would send this defense to the presses. Disregarding the popular new Leo Lerman work, Liz instead reminds us of a congratulatory Dietrich book published last year, J. David Riva's A Woman at War: Marlene Dietrich Remembered. A boiling Maria Riva probably poured over Liz's article with her during tea time at the St. Regis. Too bad she left her red pen at home.

28 January 2007

How about this cream in your coffee?

I wouldn't expect Page Six of The New York Post to uphold the Sabbath. Nevertheless, its Dietrich item today is quite blasphemous. She truly was just a gigolo.

27 January 2007

How to dress like Dietrich!

Marlene Dietrich, wearing a Charles James satin gown, c.1934. I had never seen this picture before, and although the photo isn't too clear, it's a nice find. Not as glamorous as the stage Dietrich, so I don't wanna call her Marlene; this is more like Mass.


An amie jolie to Amy Jolly

Sometimes I overlook entire pages at websites, including MDCB. Today, I noticed for the first time its most intriguing material: transcripts of letters and telegrams from Benno Vigny's real-life Amy Jolly to Dietrich, and even telegram transcripts from Benno Vigny to Amy Jolly herself. All my attempts to attain Vigny's novella, Amy Jolly--the basis of Dietrich's first American film, Morocco--have proven to be a pipe dream, so this correspondence somewhat serves as a consolation prize.

In short, Jolly requests some monetary compensation from Dietrich, which Vigny never paid her. Based on follow-up reports from Dietrich's friend, this Amy Jolly does not come off as the type to hike through desert sands in heels for her man. Rather, Jolly proves to be quite the hustler--as well as a North African Heidi Fleiss. Jolly does, however, express a genuine desire to possess a candid Dietrich photo, like other movie-goers who were struck immediately by the Dietrich mystique and wanted to penetrate its Hollywood trappings.

As an aside, I never knew Morocco was called Coeurs brulés in Francophone countries.

Youtube video of the week II

The designer Jean Louis crafted veritable works of art to drape Marlene's slender frame. At $30,000 a piece (in the 1960's!), these bugle-beaded wonders often involved days upon days of fittings, with Marlene standing stock still while Jean Louis's assistants paced around her.

But don't take my word for it:

25 January 2007

YouTube Video Of The Week

Another tale to add to the Dietrich tome! This one comes from the famous British music producer, Jonathan King. To evoke Dietrich's smoky tone, King drolly speaks an octave lower than his own voice as he recalls a phone conversation between them. Their fortuitous chat consequently led to Dietrich performing one of King's biggest hits, "Everyone's Gone to the Moon," during her stage shows. Incidentally, King's Dietrich commentary follows a Jimi Hendrix anecdote, a reminder that Dietrich maintained her visibility and prestige during a era of contrasts. Even King lauds Dietrich as "probably the greatest star of the 20th century" in the video and here, perhaps because she lauded his song as the greatest ever written? In case you were wondering, that file of "Everyone's Gone to the Moon" no longer appears available! Let me know if any of you manage to procure it.

22 January 2007

January 2007 film screenings, continued!

The Blue Angel, Wesleyan (8:00pm)


Disappointed by this paltry update, I did a Dietrich search on Craigslist. If you have one grand lying around, this item may interest you:

A letter from Dietrich to fashion designer Jean Louis

Jean Louis' nimble fingers, of course, crafted the bugle-beaded gowns that caressed Dietrich's seemingly nude silhouette during her stage shows.

21 January 2007

This or that?

Last November, Kino re-released The Blue Angel as part of a collection they call Glamour Girls. Flophouse cabaret tramps such as Lola-Lola aren't quite my idea of glamor, but alliteration does sell! Take note of the editorial review as well as the customer review that this edition of The Blue Angel is the English version. If you enjoy phonetic readings from actors who do not understand their own script, I recommend this edition! All sarcasm aside, I would consider this collection for the other films it contains. Myrna Loy, Ava Gardner, Lucille Ball, and Margaret Sullavan are worthy companions to naughty Lola in my book.

Otherwise, try the older 2-disc Kino release of The Blue Angel, which features the German AND English version with optional subtitles and an array of extras, including the famous screen test that Maximillian Schell discussed with Dietrich in Marlene and that later appeared in David Riva's Her Own Song.

20 January 2007

Keep this in your glove compartment at all times

Here's a novelty--an image-rich page devoted to Marlene Dietrich in opera gloves. How appropriate considering Maria Riva's biographical reports that her Mutti hated her bare hands. Speaking of anecdotes, were they white kid gloves or black kid gloves that Dietrich would wear to play a lady like her tante Valli? I must confess that I am no handwear connoisseur. Perhaps I should review that charming little comedy, The Lady Is Willing, to refresh my memory. Sometimes I wonder whether Theodora van Runkle, the main costume designer of Myra Breckinridge, had Elizabeth Madden in mind when fitting Raquel Welch in the monochromatic ruffled marvel that Mae West demanded removed from the film! Of course, Dietrich's Irene-designed Seven Sinners sailor suit is quite obviously appropriated by Myra. I could therefore imagine van Runkle taking more cues from Irene's chic and formidable female fashions.

19 January 2007

AFI to revise its 100 greatest films list!

On the American Film Institute website, it seems plans to reconstruct its 1998 list of the greatest 100 films of all time are underway. You can be download a copy of the ballot here. Among the 400 film titles are The Scarlett Empress and Touch of Evil!

Since the 1960s, the film industry and media have been reevaluating von Sternberg's works with Dietrich, but with the gradual re-releases on DVD (such as the great Criterion Collection edition of The Scarlet Empress), frequent film screenings (including the American Cinematheque's 2005 series, which I was fortunate to attend), David Riva's Her Own Song documentary, Maria Riva's public appearance on Larry King Live, and--of course--Dietrich's own posthumous centennial, the 21st century has seen critics extol the former "Box Office Poison." AFI even listed Dietrich at a high #9 on their list of the 50 Greatest Screen Legends. Now it's time AFI recognize the most incandescent films of its Top 10 screen legend.

Believe me, these aren't merely the views of a Dietrich disciple. A blogger named Jeffrey Anderson also suggests the von Sternberg/Dietrich silver screen collaborations as serious contenders. I hope AFI voters share his views the way I do.

18 January 2007

'60s French interview sound clips!

Last week, a friend of mine directed me to a page featuring Marlene Dietrich interview extracts (in French), in which she expresses her views and advice regarding love, relationships, and the value of beauty. Those of my generation will undoubtedly react to how Dietrich deduces the differences between men and women. I will allow you to judge these clips yourself, which you will find here.

NOTE: I have plans to see Soderbergh's The Good German, which critics have relentlessly compared to A Foreign Affair. As one would expect, the critics connect few specific links between the two films. Critics are also comparing Cate Blanchett's character to Dietrich, although they are also name-dropping Greta Garbo and any other old actress with a European accent. When I see the film myself, I will certainly report my own perspective. At the moment, I have reservations. Cate Blanchett herself cautiously notes in interviews that "Marlene Dietrich channels Marlene Dietrich" (how astute!) and lists other actresses who have inspired her. Additionally, her dowdy brunette look doesn't quite channel Dietrich, unless you're watching Golden Earrings on stolen cable.

14 January 2007

Old Hollywood meets New Hollywood!

A press release from has me salivating over the potential circulation of many rare Dietrich images! In short, WireImage is now distributing movie stills from the Kobal Collection, which provided the photos in Thierry de Navacelle's quaint oversize book, Sublime Marlene. Among those images were stills from the unreleased, unfinished Dietrich film, I Loved a Soldier (a.k.a. Hotel Imperial). Yes, Dietrich was rehashing her Bavarian beer girl caricature, Heidi braids and all, but these were photos from a canned flick! Imagine what else Kobal has to offer. Frankly, I'm ready for Lola-Lola to stuff herself in her barrel.

The only unfortunate aspect of this deal is WireImage's stinginess. Unlike, which distributes free photos at IMDB, WireImage requires paid subscription to view photos larger than a thumbnail. Nonetheless, the rabid find detours around such deterrents. Fans of Nicole Richie, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, and Paris Hilton manage to access photo agencies' guarded goods all the time. Surely, the old boys who dumpster-dived for Mae West negligees behind Paramount can also find a way.

The Frau With the Pearl Earring

The latest legend involves a recently discovered pearl earring that Marlene Dietrich supposedly lost while riding The Big Dipper roller coaster at the British amusement park, Blackpool Pleasure Beach. You can see the original article here. Regarding the Dietrich photo at that site, no way did she look that old in 1934! I suspect foul Photoshop play. Either that or the midday sun wasn't a high enough key light for her.