Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1930. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Jules Furthman, based on the play by Amy Jolly by Benno Vigny. Cinematography by Lee Garmes. Produced by Hector Turnbull. Music by Karl Hajos. Costume Design by Travis Banton. Film Editing by Sam Winston.
Marlene Dietrich‘s first Hollywood film is a stunning atmospheric drama about a raucously sexual cabaret singer who falls in love with matinee-idol looking soldier Gary Cooper. This was the first (and best) time Dietrich wore her famous man’s tuxedo, and the scene where she sings “How Much For My Apples?” and exchanges a kiss for a gardenia with a female member of the audience is one of the sexiest moments in classic film. The challenge comes when her boytoy lover has to leave with his platoon on a mission somewhere else. Does she love him enough to go with him, or will she stay behind and recover from the wounds of love? Dietrich and Cooper had better chemistry in Desire (especially because Cooper was livelier in that one), but this is a much better film.
The Criterion Collection: #931
Academy Award Nominations: Best Actress (Marlene Dietrich); Best Director (Josef von Sternberg); Best Cinematography; Best Art Direction