Marlene Dietrich

Francesca Sarpola
                                                          Humanities 11
                                                          30 Jan. 2009

A Diamond Encrusted Advocate for Peace: The Contrasting Images of Marlene Dietrich

      Plagued with poor vision, a 77-year-old Marie Magdalene Dietrich (1901-1991) strains in front of the mirror searching for Marlene. Although unable to see well enough to recreate the illusion of Marlene herself, she is brought close to tears upon seeing that a young makeup artist has recreated her former self for one last time. (Spoto) Marie Magdalene Dietrich served a double life in more ways than one. German-born Dietrich long served as the idolized, quintessential symbol of glamour for the Golden Age of Hollywood. Not only a film actress, Dietrich also traveled the world performing in front of live audiences, making her active career last over 50 years. Although she was known as a glamorous movie star, who was proud of her home country, her fervent opposition to Adolf Hitler and the German Nazi Party led to her support of Allied troops during World War II. Dietrich is remembered by Donald Spoto, author of Blue Angel (The Life of Marlene Dietrich), as “a kind of theatrical phoenix, ever rising from the cinders of one life to triumph in another.” Dietrich will always be remembered for creating a forever worshipped and unduplicated being that embodied the essence of glamour during the 20th century, and for supporting what she believed in unwaveringly.
Marie Magdalene did not mold herself into the illusion of Marlene all on her own. Her earliest and possibly most consequential contributor was German film director, Josef von Sternberg (1894-1969). In September of 1929, in Berlin, Germany, Dietrich performed in a play, entitled Two Neckties, which would forever change her life. Sternberg needed only to hear one line to fall in love with Marlene. (Spoto) Although Two Neckties was the last play that Dietrich...