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Kino International Releases Award-Winning Documentary Marlene (1984) on DVD
"A unique film. Perhaps the most fascinating and affecting documentary
ever made about a great movie star".
- Newsweek Magazine
New York, NY - July 29, 2009 - Kino International is proud to release on DVD, the Academy Award® Nominated documentary Marlene (1984), directed by actor-turned-director Maximilian Schell (Judgment at Nuremberg, A Bridge Too Far). Winner of two Best Documentary awards given by the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics, Marlene is a "portrait of a remarkably strong-willed woman" (The New York Times) that brilliantly reveals the real Marlene Dietrich.
Set to prebook on Septmeber 8, 2009, Marlene is set to become available on October 6, with an SRP of $29.95.
In September of 1982, Oscar-winning® actor and director Maximilian Schell (Julia, The Man in the Glass Booth) arrived in Paris for a series of on-camera interviews with Marlene Dietrich intended for a documentary film on the screen icon's life and work.
Despite having agreed to participate, the near-recluse Dietrich withdrew permission for her Judgment at Nuremburg co-star to film in her flat. Instead, in over 40 hours of audio-taped interviews, the 81 year-old screen legend provoked a battle royale of conversational mind games leading to unforgettably raw and truthful emotional revelations.
Using Dietrich's candid, bruising, infuriating, and occasionally touching off-camera musings on childhood, marriage, sex, love, collaborators, co-stars, life, death, and the Holocaust, Schell "sets her words, like a score, to the stunning film images of the young Marlene." (Washington Post).
The hypnotic final result - buoyed by self-reflexive making-of footage, and an impressionistic re-creation of the sunless Paris flat where star and filmmaker fenced, fought, and ultimately connected - brings 13 classic film clips and has been referred to as the "Sunset Boulevard of documentaries" (Washington Post).
Marlene Dietrich was born Marie Magdalene Dietrich on December 27th, 1901, in Schöneberg - a district of Berlin, Germany.
After an unsuccessful audition for theatrical director and impressario Max Reinhardt's drama academy in 1921, Dietrich found herself working in his theatres as a chorus girl and playing small roles.
Having gathered additional experience in both the stage and on feature film productions, Marelene Dietrich's career took a significant turn when she landed the breakthrough role of Lola-Lola, a cabaret singer who causes the downfall of a Schoolmaster, in The Blue Angel (1930).
On the strength of this picture's international success, and the beginning of a close partnership with von Sternberg, who was already in Hollywood, Dietrich moved to the U.S. and landed a coveted contract with Paramount Pictures.
Her first American film, Morocco (1930), also directed by von Sternberg, earned Dietrich her only Oscar nomination. Following Morocco, Dietrich went on to star in a series of five films directed by von Sternberg (at Paramount) between 1930 and 1935: Dishonored (1931), Shanghai Express (1931), Blonde Venus (1932), The Scarlet Empress (1934), and The Devil is a Woman (1935). It is widely reported that von Sternberg was partially responsible in creating the calculated Dietrich, femme fatale icon, which became a model for an entire generation of female roles.
While Dietrich never fully regained her former screen glory after her seven-picture collaboration with Sternberg, in the early 30s, she continued her motion-picture career, performing for such distinguished directors as Billy Wilder (A Foreign Affair; 1948), Alfred Hitchcock (Stage Fright; 1950) and Orson Welles (Touch of Evil; 1958).
In December of 1953, Dietrich's career comeback took the shape of a one-woman show, and she toured the world for over twenty years. Starting at the Congo Room in the Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas, this tour was a huge success not only due to Dietrich star brand but also because of her unique voice and singing abilities. Some of her shows were even made into recordings and her albums are still being re-issued and re-released today.
Her last performance came in 1975 in Australia where she had an accident on the stage. But again, she was convinced to appear in a cameo role in a 1978 production named Just a Gigolo, directed by David Hemmings.
The rest of her life was spent in her Paris apartment, sometimes travelling in disguise and only keeping in touch with friends and colleagues by telephone - while still answering letters and requests for autographs. Marlene died in Paris on 6th May 1992 and was buried in Berlin next to her mother.
1984 Germany 91 min.
In German and English with optional English subtitles