Monday, September 12, 2011


Blonde Venus (1932) - Sternberg
Helen (Marlene Dietrich), a stage performer, first seen in racy skinny dipping scene with a bunch of other frauleins in a German town, is swept off her feet by an American scientist who marries her and relocate her to NY. They are not rich living in a small apartment but have adorable 5 year old son now. I guess back then being a scientist didn't pay for shit. Ned is diagnosed with the radium poisoning and in need of treatment. Helen volunteers to go back to the stage to make money, despite Ned's passive aggressive protests.

Blonde Venus gets weird as it becomes a road movie in the middle. Its very melodramatic material is accompanied by the glamor lighting suited for its angular star. There are three musical numbers, the standout being 'Hot Voodoo'- an overtly Rudyard Kippling racist minstrel show but you can get to see Dietrich in a gorilla suit. It's enjoyable until the end comes around, because you get to hate Ned's baseless moral grandstanding. Young Cary Grant makes an appearance as a millionaire homewrecker as well. Luminous Dietrich is much better than the material that is given to her.