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Universal Hollywood Icons Collection: Marlene Dietrich [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Angel
Generally considered one of director Ernst Lubitsch's lesser works, Angel stars Marlene Dietrich as Maria, the neglected wife of Sir Frederick Barker (Herbert Marshall), a British diplomat who travels often and seems little concerned with his spouse. Maria has nearly reached her breaking point when she travels to Paris to visit her old friend Anna Dmitrivena (Laura Hope Crews), a Grand Duchess who also operates an exclusive bordello. While in Paris, Maria meets Anthony Halton (Melvyn Douglas), a visitor from America who seems quite taken with her. While Maria enjoys Anthony's attentions, she backs off and retreats to England. Shortly after her return, Maria and Frederick attend the races and she spots Anthony in the crowd. Maria is tempted to continue her romance with Anthony (who now realizes that she's married), while Frederick begins to wonder if his wife might be growing restless. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Blonde Venus
Marlene Dietrich stars as Helen Faraday, a German cabaret singer in the States whose husband, Ned, falls ill and his only hope is to receive expensive medical treatment at a clinic in Europe. Struggling to afford his care and to support their son Johnny, she works at a nightclub and succumbs to the advances of wealthy playboy Nick, whose gifts assist in her husband's recovery. Soon Ned recovers and returns, but when he discovers that Helen has been unfaithful, he divorces her, threatening to take their son. After running with little Johnny, she ends up a prostitute in New Orleans, where she is found by the detective hired by Ned. The boy is taken from her and Helen flees to Paris where she becomes a cabaret sensation. Upon witnessing a performance, Nick begins seeing her again and when the show moves to NYC, he secures a meeting between her and her ex -- who is finally made aware of the motivation behind her affair years before. This is the feature containing the well-known scenes where Dietrich performs stage numbers in an ape-suit and a white tuxedo (complete with top hat). ~ Kristie Hassen, Rovi

Desire
In this frothy romantic adventure, Marlene Dietrich plays Madeleine de Beaupre, a devious jewel thief. After sneaking a valuable string of pearls away from jeweler Aristide Duval (Ernest Cossart), Madeleine attempts to flee Paris, leaving a trail that will instead implicate psychiatrist Dr. Pauquet (Alan Mowbray). While headed for the Spanish border, she nearly runs into Tom Bradley (Gary Cooper), an American auto engineer vacationing in Europe. Madeleine spots Tom again as she waits to go through Spanish Customs; worried that the stolen pearls will be found in her handbag, she slips them into Tom's pocket. After they both make their way through inspection unscathed, Madeleine flirts with Tom in an attempt to get the valuables back; he's too shy to respond in kind, so she gets his attention by trying to "repair" the engine of her car with a hammer. Madeleine lures Tom to the San Sebastian estate of her partner in crime, Carlos Margoli (John Halliday). It doesn't take long for Tom to figure out what Madeleine and Carlos are up to; however, he also knows that he's fallen in love with her, and he is willing to play along if it allows him to be near her. Carlos was originally to have been played by John Gilbert; Halliday was a last-minute replacement after the one-time silent screen star died a week before shooting was to begin. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Seven Sinners
Set in the South Seas, Seven Sinners stars Marlene Dietrich as a cabaret singer whose reputation as a troublemaker has gotten her kicked out of one port of call after another. Once more causing a riot, Dietrich takes refuge on the first ship out, together with her underhanded cohorts Broderick Crawford and Mischa Auer. During her next stopover at the Seven Sinners Cafe, Dietrich meets handsome Naval officer John Wayne. He falls in love with her, much to the consternation of island governor Samuel S. Hinds, who knows that any romantic entanglement with Dietrich invariably results in dissension, disarray and brawls. He tells her to lay off Wayne or she'll be deported. But Dietrich insists upon performing one last song for the Duke...and sure as shootin', a battle royal ensues. This time, however, Wayne works tirelessly behind the scenes to solve everyone's problems. Maintaining the fascination level of Seven Sinners is a limitless array of top character actors, including Oscar Homolka, Billy Gilbert, Albert Dekker and Reginald Denny. The film was remade in 1950 as South Sea Sinner, starring Shelley Winters and--are you holding on to something?--Liberace. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Marlene Dietrich
    Marlene Dietrich - Maria Barker
  • Herbert Marshall
    Herbert Marshall - Sir Frederick Barker
  • Melvyn Douglas
    Melvyn Douglas - Anthony Halton
  • Edward Everett Horton
    Edward Everett Horton - Graham
  • Herbert Mundin
    Herbert Mundin - Greenwood
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