As “Agent X-27” our heroine proves invaluable to her superiors, seducing and betraying enemy officers with the greatest of ease. But when she falls in love with Russian spy Lt. Kranau (Victor McLaglen), she permits him to escape her clutches, and as a consequence is sentenced to be executed.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what's now showing
Visual rapture, as should be expected from Sternberg—every shot feels like it should be mounted on a wall. I love the setup for a sexual allegory, but as sexual allegories go, it's curiously passionless. The interactions between Dietrich and McLaglen are so stiff and stilted that I had to wonder if Sternberg was up to something I just couldn't see. For a vision more perversely alive, seek out The Scarlet Empress.
I think this is the 19th consecutive 5-star movie I've rated, & what a phenomenal one it is. Sternberg and Dietrich are aware of the elusiveness of reality, and of its physical presence. At times, Dietrich--the way she moves,speaks, is lit, is directed--seems to almost pierce through matter into some other dimension. But the force of the material world-its customs and its traditions to boot--always pulls her back.
Was going to be a 3/5, because quite honestly the story is a mess and, surprisingly, not all that interesting...that is, until the last 20-25 minutes or so. Then all of the elements that make a great von Sternberg film come together perfectly, as atmosphere and photography give an atmospheric and dramatic edge to everything. Not near his best, but still a must for fans of the director.
really loved this one. Dietrich and von Sternberg's collaborations are really coming into full swing for me. her dry delivery and wry facial expressions within von Sternberg's world where, it seems, love just cannot fully be realized, or rather, is never easy, works to bring about a charm that leaves me disarmed. it seems, for Dietrich, love is simply a metaphor for willingness to succumb, even if it means death.
this is exactly what i've been looking for! deitrich's costumes, demeanor and delivery are so on point!
every scene is basically an iconic stunner!
von sternberg's use of foreground and background explicit yet necessary