Is the devil a woman? Take the 7 Sternberg-Dietrich films as a package, and you can go mad trying to decide how they feel about sex, because every pain, joy, and contradiction of desire is on display. This final film is the most brutal, a metaphor for movie love goddesses that leaves you unsure which manipulator to root for. I'll say this, though: they ended their creative partnership on the perfect line of dialogue.
Very interesting to watch, story-wise, after having learned a bit about the working relationship between von Sternberg and Dietrich and now knowing that this would be the last time they would work together. I think that at least five other collaborations between the two top this film, but it still has enough of the magic that they were apparently able to bring out in each other. Dietrich is just so damn seductive.
Showing at MoMA this week...Cant wait to watch it!
"In this seventh and final Sternberg/Dietrich collaboration, the two reveal much about their tortured romantic relationship, in an outrageously sumptuous Spanish setting. This is one of the most beautiful and personal films ever to come out of a Hollywood studio" MoMA.
So artificial, so stylized, it's so suffocating, but it makes me tingle all over with its cinematic power! And plus Dietrich just commands and overwhelming and sensual screen presence. I love how every movement, frame, and gesture is choreographed like a dance. It's absolutely thrilling! Von Sternberg is a master.
The Devil Is a Woman is a masterpiece made by maverick filmmaker Josef Von Sternberg. Starring the ravishing Marlene Dietrich in her prime, who plays a real heartbreaker of men, the film, taking place in Spain at the turn of the 20th Century, involves an older man who is a captain and a younger man who is a revolutionary bond over Dietrich's Concha Perez. [cont.]