And here we are, ready to dig into the first movie in the “Dietrich & Von Sternberg In Hollywood” set, the 1930 movie Morocco, starring, obviously, Marlene Dietrich, with Gary Cooper joining her, along with Adolphe Menjou.
Marlene Dietrich plays Amy Jolly, a cabaret entertainer who has just come to Morocco. On the boat over, she runs into rich Monsieur La Bessiere (Adolphe Menjou), but turns him away. At her opening at the nightclub, she meets Tom Brown (Gary Cooper), a womanizer in the Foreign Legion. He becomes interested in her, and she reciprocates, offering him a key to her place. He gets into trouble because he has been fooling around with his adjutant’s wife. He considers deserting after being told he has to go off on a mission with the adjutant, but he decides against it when he sees La Bessiere trying to court Amy. While he is gone, she ends up pining for him.
This movie has several points that have made it famous. It was Marlene Dietrich’s first American movie, and her second collaboration with director Josef Von Sternberg, as they had previously made the German movie The Blue Angel (which was to have its English version released in American theatres after Morocco had proven a success). Marlene’s opening performance near the beginning of the movie was one of those infamous moments that got past the censors, with her wearing a male tuxedo (apparently not done much yet at that time), as well as her kissing one of the female audience members, a scene that was held in the movie because she got a flower from her, which she gave to Gary Cooper’s Tom Brown a moment later (which wouldn’t have made sense if the scene was deleted). This is a movie that I hadn’t seen previously, but it was one that I did enjoy watching. It is a little slow at times, but I would still recommend it.
This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Criterion Collection.
Film Length: 1 hour, 32 minutes
My Rating: 7/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Marlene Dietrich – Dishonored (1931)
Gary Cooper – Design For Living (1933)
Adolphe Menjou – One Hundred Men And A Girl (1937)