Marlene Dietrich with her charm and her unique charisma has long embodied those ideals of style, elegance and self control so popular in the '30s: a perfection and an absolutely original charm for the time, which both appealed to the male and female sensitivity, covering Marlene with an androgynous patina that, after her, would be taken by many other artists.
Born on December 27, 1901 in Schoeneberg, Germany, Marie Magdalene Dietrich was the daughter of a jeweler and a police officer who died prematurely. The mother remarried, but the second husband fell on the eastern front. Perhaps it is for this reason, for a spasmodic search of the father figure that Marlene consumed many loves with men of strong personality. In his "game board" are names such as Josef von Sternberg, Billy Wilder, Orson Welles, Erich Maria Remarque, Gary Cooper, Jean Gabin and Burt Lancaster.
From the 1920s he began to study acting and appear in some film productions; in 1923 he married Rudolf Sieber who would legally remain his only husband, although in fact they parted quite early, still remaining in good relations. The following year she gave birth to her first and only daughter, Maria.
In 1929, the Jewish-Austrian director Josef von Sternberg came from Hollywood to make a film based on the figure of Professor Unrat, a character that is the result of the literary invention of Heinrich Mann. Marlene Dietrich immediately catches the attention of the director and from the collaboration comes a masterpiece: "The Blue Angel", a film in which Marlene plays a nightclub singer in what was one of the first German sound films.
With this debut that immediately immortalized it among the myths of cinema, began a long and glorious career. Marlene followed Sternberg in New York and Hollywood, starring in six other films that helped make the actress a living legend. Among them: "Marocco", in which Marlene appears dressed in a black tailcoat and a tuba hat, "Disordered", in which she embodies the part of an Austrian spy during the First World War.
The "Dietrich character" was consolidated, a solitary fatal woman, intelligent and independent, with a strong sensual charge and an equally strong gender ambivalence. "Shangai express", from 1932, confirmed it even more in this role. Many other films followed, such as "Blonde Venus", "Song of Songs", "The Scarlet Empress", "The Devil is a Woman".
After the collaboration with Sternberg the actress also played a brilliant part in a comedy directed by Frank Borzage, "Desiderio", film of 1936 that sees her in the role of a fascinating jewel thief who makes capitulating at his feet a handsome Gary Cooper . Later, however, he also returned to more melancholy parts such as "Angel", a film by Ernst Lubitsch in which he plays Lady Maria Barker, a woman who discovers she has betrayed her husband with one of his oldest friends. The film does not receive a great consensus and this authorizes some to talk about decline.
Yet Marlene soon returns to the spotlight in a new genre, a western in which she plays a saloon singer ("Partita d'azzardo"). It was 1939, the year in which the former blue angel became an American citizen. Always hostile to Nazism, Marlene Dietrich decided to engage actively by supporting American troops in Africa and Italy, although she still felt very close to her home country. It is the time of "Lily Marlene", the song that would have accompanied her for the rest of her life.
After the war he worked with several directors: from George Lacombe in "Martin Roumagnac" to Billy Wilder in "International Scandal", a film in which Marlene, in a game of mirrors with a realistic flavor, embodies a Nazi singer in a Berlin in ruins; and then again "Fear on Stage" by Alfred Hitchcock and "The Infernal Quinlan" by Orson Welles.
But there were not only films for Marlene Dietrich that, from a certain moment, she began to perform on the live stage too, not to mention the concerts, among which memorable was that of Rio in 1959. Despite her large amount of artistic work However, everyone will always remember it especially as the Lola de "L'angelo azzurro" .Die
Marlene Dietrich, today an absolute icon of the history of the twentieth century, disappeared on 6 May 1992 at the age of 90.