Devil is a Woman, The (1935)

“That woman has ice where others have a heart.”

A seductive cigarette factory worker (Marlene Dietrich) captures the heart of a captain (Lionel Atwill), who tries to warn his young friend (Cesar Romero) that Concha (Dietrich) will break his heart as well — but neither man can resist her lure.


Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “last and least of Marlene Dietrich’s films with Josef von Sternberg” — after The Blue Angel (1930) Morocco (1930), Dishonored (1931), Shanghai Express (1932), Blonde Venus (1932), and The Scarlet Empress (1934) — “is set at the turn of the century in a small Spanish town at carnival time (which allows von Sternberg to have fun with costumes and art direction).” He asserts that the “picture suffers from looking too studio-bound and from Sternberg’s decision to let Dietrich play her role with tongue firmly in cheek… giving the impression that all those on both sides of the camera (except the ultra-serious Atwill) were too casual about the film they were making.” I’m equally tepid about this film, which is gorgeous but lacking a plot substantial enough to care about; there isn’t much fun to be had in watching gold-digging Dietrich callously seduce the men around her, or the men themselves being destroyed.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Ornate sets and costumes

  • Effectively stark cinematography (by von Sternberg and uncredited Lucien Ballard)

Must See?
No; you can skip this one.


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