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TCM Star of the Month for May is Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich, in a career that spanned eight decades, moved from the cabarets and silent films of 1920s Berlin to international stardom in the movies of Josef von Sternberg and, finally, to a pinnacle of fame as a concert performer of immaculate glamour. Along the way she maintained her reputation as a shimmering beauty with sparkling wit as well as an often-compelling actress.
You can learn more about her and see her complete filmography here.
20 films, Thursday nights in May. Beginning May 10th.
** Denotes our must-see picks
The Blue Angel (1930) with Emil Jannings
A stodgy professor falls from grace when he’s seduced by a nightclub singer.
The version shown on TCM this month is the full-length German-language version, distributed by Kino International and licensed from the Murnau Foundation in Germany. A new print was struck from the best surviving materials and a new translation of the dialogue was commissioned.
The Scarlett Empress (1934) with John Lodge
A highly fictionalized biopic of the German-born Russian empress Catherine the Great, the film’s screenplay by Manuel Komroff was supposedly based on Catherine’s diary
A beautiful temptress re-kindles an old romance while trying to escape her past during a tension-packed train journey.
The most beautiful and exotic of von Sternberg’s creations
A sultry cabaret singer falls hard for a Foreign Legionnaire.
Director Josef von Sternberg’s first American film.
A nightclub singer gives in to a rich playboy to finance her husband’s medical treatment.
The picture is notable for other reasons, too: It’s fun to watch Dietrich playing the role of a mother, and considering how hypnotically aloof and elegant an on-screen presence she could be, she’s surprisingly good at it.
A deputy who’s sworn not to shoot again takes on a corrupt town boss and a sultry saloon singer.
Angel (1937) with Melvyn Douglas
While vacationing without her husband, a married woman falls for another man.
Considered one of director Lubitsch’s and star Dietrich’s most underrated efforts
The Devil Is a Woman (1935) with Lionel Atwill
A member of the Spanish guard falls for a temptress who once ruined his commanding officer’s life.
For many years, it was believed that The Devil Is a Woman was indeed a lost film until von Sternberg’s personal copy turned up for a revival screening at the 1959 Venice Film Festival.
Desire (1936) with Gary Cooper
Before they can marry, two society types run off with lower-class loves.
For Marlene Dietrich, Desire marked a significant break from the increasingly remote and stylized worlds of Josef von Sternberg’s films and a demonstration of her ability to stand on her own as a star after the box-office failure of films such as The Scarlet Empress (1934) and The Devil Is a Woman (1935).
Knight Without Armour (1937) with Robert Donat