Marlene Dietrich

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colt45
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Post by colt45 » 09 Aug 2007 20:40

colt45 wrote:Screen legend Marlene Dietrich was a German citizen until 1937 and was popular on both sides of the Atlantic though a staunch anti-Nazi, McCarthy said. During the war, Dietrich recorded popular American songs and anti-Nazi messages in German that were beamed from London to Germans behind the lines. Where Germans turned off American propaganda before, they stuck around to listen to “Sultry Marlene.”
Dietrich reportedly braved icy mud and enemy fire to entertain Allied troops in the battle zones. She was so vigorous an anti-Nazi that the United States, Belgium, Israel and the Netherlands awarded her medals for her work during World War II. America presented her the Medal of Freedom, its highest civilian honor.
colt45 wrote:She refused A. Hitler to bring her back to the 3rd Reich and make films of her choice,, She got pneumonia in Itlay 1944, worked the U S O shows - 1901 - 1992 Berlin?
Marlene became the highest paid actress of her time, but her later films in the mid part of the decade were critical and popular failures. She returned to Europe at the end of the decade, with a series of affairs with former leading men (she had a reputation of romancing her co-stars), as well as other prominent artistic figures. In 1939 an offer came to star with James Stewart in a western, and after initial hesitation she accepted. The film was Destry Rides Again (1939) - the siren of film could also be a comedienne and a remarkable comeback was reality. She toured extensively for the allied effort in WW II (she had become a United States citizen), and after the war limited her cinematic life. But a new career as a singer and performer appeared, with reviews and shows in Las Vegas, touring theatricals, and even Broadway. New success was accompanied by a too close acquaintance with alcohol, until falls in performance eventually resulted in a compound fracture of the leg. Although the last 13 years of her life were spent in seclusion in her apartment in Paris, with the last 12 years in bed, she had withdrawn only from public life and maintained active telephone and correspondence contact with friends and associates.

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Sewer King
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Post by Sewer King » 23 Aug 2007 04:50

I remember when Marlene Dietrich's daughter Maria Riva wrote a biography of her mother in about 1991 and discussed it on television. Celebrity bios do not interest me often, but this one did somewhat. The author spoke about hers with a definite distance that the interviewer picked up on, since she always referred to her mother as "Dietrich." She said this was partly because the actress had a strong Prussian soldier's sense of duty toward her work, including her off-screen appearances.

In another of these interviews, this time with Larry King,, similar sentiments come out. It is as well that Dietrich lived in seclusion in her last years, sparing her a painful late-life comparison to Rita Hayworth or, more to the point, Joan Crawford. Maria Riva mentioned that when she visited her mother in Paris the latter had kept a diary in which she insisted that her daughter did not come to visit. It got so that Maria went to writing between the diary's lines to say otherwise.

In his well-known wartime book Up Front, famed US Army cartoonist Bill Mauldin noted how Marlene Dietrich made a point of being there for the enlisted soldiers rather than the officers. For her part I think she was especially popular because she knew how to return their appreciation. Although in her early years in America, she thought Americans too prudish in many ways. This comes out In Billy Wilder's film A Foreign Affair (1948), where she plays an aristocratic German laid low by postwar occupation life -- but who puts a sanctimonious American visitor (Jean Arthur) face-down into what that low life means.

You see in the above Wikipedia reference that director Wilder commented that in filming his two female leads, Arthur and Dietrich were "one who can't look in the mirror and the other who can't stop looking in it." In the film, you see this turned out just right for their performances.

And in Stanley Kramer's film Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) you see the same tension between her as a German character, and the American ones (played by Spencer Tracy and Richard Widmark). I haven't seen all her films, so don't know if she acted out these kind of differences in her other film roles.

In great films, small things are played well. In Judgment there is the scene where Dietrich and Tracy walk by a bar where German veterans are singing "Lili Marlene" -- someone brings a beer to a blind vet outside. The two characters are talking about their experiences in each others' countries. Dietrich asks, "Do Americans sing in their bars? I have forgotten." Tracy answers, "No, we're apt to be pretty sullen." "Lili Marlene" can still be heard from the bar, and she muses sadly about the real meaning behind the German rendition of "Lili Marlene" and how much more it is than the English version.

I have had the impression that there was some controversy after her death, about whether she should be buried in Germany or not. Some might have felt that, anti-Nazi or not, she turned her back on her country. Was there any such controversy?

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colt45
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Post by colt45 » 24 Aug 2007 12:38

I have had the impression that there was some controversy after her death, about whether she should be buried in Germany or not. Some might have felt that, anti-Nazi or not, she turned her back on her country. Was there any such controversy? - I think she always loved her homeland and thought about it a lot but her career was in the USA as were her friends

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Post by ManfredV » 24 Aug 2007 13:46

Yes, there were some right wing die-hards who reviled her as "traitor", but nevertheless she was buried in Germany and honoured by politicians and Berlin people.
Short after her dead there was a party congress of GREEN PARTY in Berlin. Delegates stood up for a one minute silence to pay respect to her as a great German and anti-fascist. It was a great moment.

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Michael Emrys
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Post by Michael Emrys » 26 Aug 2007 22:57

There is one anecdote that I heard about Dietrich but have not verified. I will pass it along anyway because even if it is fictional, it is true to the spirit of the lady.

It seems that sometime in late 1944 she was performing for a crowd of GIs somewhere on the Continent (Belgium perhaps?). At one point early in the show, she hiked up her skirt and said, "The Fuehrer will never see these legs...but you shall." Naturally the soldiers went wild at that.

Michael

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colt45
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Post by colt45 » 27 Aug 2007 12:37

I can believe it, she was an entertainer

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Bjørn from Norway
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Post by Bjørn from Norway » 27 Aug 2007 13:20

Hello!

Just a small incident from my early teens in the 60s - I remember being at my Grandma´s in Germany a few months. She, and several of her friends were discussing Dietrich - and I can clearly remember that she was not very popular at all. They even claimed she "had forgotten to speak German after a few years in USA."
So, clearly she was controvercial.

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Re: Marlene Dietrich

Post by Seebad » 05 Jul 2012 18:26

My family wasn't right-winged at all, my grandfather had some hard times under Hitler. But Marlene Dietrich was disliked. It was because she said to the soldiers of America 'go and kill the german soldiers!' And the men of my family who hated Hitler where these soldiers. I cannot remember that only one day M. Dietrich was respected in my family. There where other actors who where against the Nazis and this is good but she loved to incite the foreign soldiers, and she thought that the Germans will never know. She isn't loved here till today. Officials say 'oh, she is sooo great!' but the citizens of Berlin who remember that time (or know about them from the family history) will never do.

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