Marlene Dietrich: Life and Legend

Marlene Dietrich: Life and Legend

Steven Bach

Language: English

Pages: 626

ISBN: 0688071198

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Based on six years of research and writing, and 200 interviews conducted in three languages in a dozen countries, Bach's definitive biography focuses on Dietrich as both woman and myth. Contains over 100 photos, including family photos never before published, a complete bibliography and complete and correct theatre history, filmography, and discography.

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starring roles and would undoubtedly attribute her failings to the lesser talents of lesser directors. The only thing more astonishing than an actress who would make such demands was a director who would agree to them. He agreed. Her insolence was inspired intuition; it was the essence of Lola Lola, Eros on a high wire. "The theater was in her blood, and she was familiar with every parasite in it," he decided. "Her energy to survive and to rise above her environment must have been fantastic," he

willows trailed in lakes as blue as Aryan eyes. The glory would turn to smithereens and dust, swirling with ghosts: the Hotel Adlon, the Cafe Bauer, the Hotel Eden, the Cafe Konig; the culture cauldron of theater and opera; the cabarets with their barbed-wire wit; the dance halls with their Tingeltangel girls in sweaty spangles; the back-street pubs where balls wobbled down beer-splashed alleys toward waiting skittles pins, rumbling like thrilling thunder, like the new underground railway, like

injustice file. They wanted a "big picture for big results'? He had one in his luggage as he sailed for Germany. In his head, anyway. And he had more. He had perspective: personal for Frau Sieber; professional for "Dietrich"; little for himself. Sternberg knew Marlene clung to Rudi with some loyalty he didn't understand and it caused him pain even as he admired it. She was using Rudi partly to deflect his own obsession with her, but Rudi was not the enemy; he and Sternberg understood each other

skin a cat to amuse the customers. For all these antics she remains unexciting. The explanation is near at hand. Mr. Sternberg's employers, despite repeated warnings, allowed their erratic cameraman to write his own scenario [sic]; and not all the directors in the world could have taken such a dramatic curiosity and made Miss Dietrich, or anyone else, exciting. [She gives] as complete an exhibition of somnambulance as any actress ever gave an enthusiastic, if misled, public." There is glee in

translucent pallor that goes with ginger coloring, giving me a sickly look," but she had a habit of undervaluing herself, which did not help others to evaluate her later. The truth is she was born beautiful, pretty as a picture, and we have the picture to prove it. In what is probably her first baby photo, at age two or three, she looks not delicate, not sickly. She looks like a vanilla pudding nestled in the doilylace of her skirt, and around her plump waist (it would always be short) a creamy

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