TFTMM 2019 & WOIANRA 2018 on… Dietrich & Von Sternberg In Hollywood

In July 2018, Criterion Collection released a set of the six movies that actress Marlene Dietrich and director Josef Von Sternberg made together in Hollywood (their first film together, The Blue Angel, was made in Germany). Of course, I’m linking to my reviews for the individual films, but this one is about the whole set.

Morocco (1930)

  • My Rating: 7/10

Dishonored (1931)

  • My Rating: 8/10

Shanghai Express (1932)

  • My Rating: 9/10

Blonde Venus (1932)

  • My Rating: 9/10

The Scarlet Empress (1934)

  • My Rating: 9/10

The Devil Is A Woman (1935)

  • My Rating: 8/10

Going into this set, I had very little experience with Marlene Dietrich (mainly just her appearance in the 1961 movie Judgment At Nuremberg). And I generally tend not to fuss over who the director is, so I had NO idea who Josef Von Sternberg is. The main appeal of this set was the time frame the movies were made in, and some of her co-stars in these films (Gary Cooper in Morocco, Cary Grant in Blonde Venus and Edward Everett Horton in The Devil Is A Woman). I would say this set turned out to be a wonderful surprise, as I now feel a lot of respect for Marlene Dietrich as an actress, and I am certainly curious about some of her other films (including the English version of The Blue Angel). I did enjoy the visuals that Von Sternberg put together in these movies.

Speaking of the picture, I would easily recommend this set. For a group of movies from the early thirties, these movies look marvelous in high definition! I do think Morocco might have the weakest transfer, but that is likely due either to the surviving film elements or just how it was filmed. But these HD transfers allow us to see the director’s work with the lighting and the sets with such wonderful clarity! I enjoyed this set and would definitely suggest trying these films out (although, as a whole, I would be wary about showing them to children).

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