“I was an actress, I made my films — that’s it!”
81-year-old Marlene Dietrich shares memories from her past with former co-star Maximilian Schell, while refusing to be photographed.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Marlene Dietrich Films
- Maximilian Schell Films
Classic movie buffs will surely delight in this most unusual interview between Maximilian Schell and octogenarian Marlene Dietrich, made under the strictest of conditions: that Schell would get only 40 hours of her time, and that her current image would never be shown on film. The result is a vibrant and creative — if at times necessarily constrained — walk back through memory lane with Dietrich, who reveals herself to be simultaneously cantankerous (“‘Falling in love again…’ I mean, really! It’s ridiculous”), obstinate (“It’s all in my book”), humble (“I didn’t understand anything in those days”), self-effacing (“I wasn’t erotic at all — I was snobby!”), mysterious (“What’s true is that what you read is untrue”), reflective (“I’ve never actually felt at home in any one place”), admirable (“Naturally we were against the Nazis; of course we were”), dismissive (“Do you think I’d go and sit in some sad, stuffy old cinema and watch an old film?”), bitchy (“I don’t call them women. I call them females. They can’t think clearly”), clear-headed (“You can’t miss what you’ve never had”), mendacious (she claims she had no siblings), and opinionated (“You can’t use that — really, you can’t”), among many other qualities. It’s well worth a listen.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- A creative rendering of a life recounted
Yes, as a fascinating if fragmented glimpse into Dietrich’s storied life. Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.