Morocco (1930)

JOSEF VON STERNBERG

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 1930.  Screenplay by , based on the play by Amy Jolly by . Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by

Marlene Dietrich made cinematic icon history when she appeared in her first musical number in a tuxedo, taking a flower from a female patroness and kissing her on the lips before throwing the bloom to Gary Cooper, who gleefully accepts his passive role as her prey. She plays a singer who arrives in Mogador (now Essaouira) at the same time that the French Legion is stationed there. She falls in love with Legionnaire Cooper, but his womanizing ways inspire a jealous husband to send him into battle, hopefully to get killed. Dietrich must decide if she wants to keep up her glamorous, wandering ways or kick off her white pumps and follow him into the desert. Not much happens, but the gorgeous exoticism of the settings (actually all shot just outside of Los Angeles) and the glamour of the stars thrilled audiences to no end, who were instantly taken with the German star in her Hollywood debut.

The Criterion Collection:  #931

Academy Award Nominations:  Best Actress (Marlene Dietrich); Best Director (Josef von Sternberg); Best Cinematography; Best Art Direction

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