Marlene Dietrich - 6 Disc Boxset

 

Born Marie Magdalene Dietrich on December 27, 1901, Marlene Dietrich was always known for her low sensual voice and 'bedroom eyes'. Even at an early age her ability to allure men with her skyward glances was confidently blossoming - and eventually one of her professors at school was abruptly terminated. Examples of this powerful femininity would follow her throughout her personal life and career (she had a reputation of romancing many of her co-stars). Starting out in over a dozen silent films - her characterizations became increasingly hypnotic. Josef Von Sternberg takes the credit for bringing her to Hollywood where her photographic affair with the silver screen continued to stratospheric proportions often playing devious women of low moral character, but usually impeccably dressed.

In her later life she often utilized the crutch of alcohol and the final 13 years were spent in almost total seclusion. Residing at an apartment in Paris, she withdrew from public life corresponding frequently with friends and colleagues via telephone. This only seemed to fuel her mystique which even today remains in the accentuated lore of Hollywood's Babylon.

 

Shanghai Express (1932)      Blonde Venus (1932)      The Devil Is a Woman (1935)


Destry Rides Again (1939)      The Lady Is Willing (1942)      A Foreign Affair (1948)

 

Titles

 

 

 

Shanghai Express (1932) -  Sternberg rightly banking his cinema muse's power avoids any chance of Anna May getting an entrenched foothold. Great support comes in the form of Warner Oland who plays the evil revolutionary leader who tries in on with both gals... but this is all Dietrich and Garmes' exquisite cinematography. This is film mood at its absolute pinnacle - a high-class exotic passenger ride in spacious train cars with thick velour seats - my imagination makes them maroon-ish red. A masterpiece.

Excerpt from Gary Tooze's review located HERE

 

Blonde Venus (1932) - Mainly noted for Dietrich singing 'Hot Voodoo' in a gorilla suit, this otherwise unremarkable and dull star vehicle has the pouty one turn night-club singer paying for her ailing husband Marshall's European cure. When she spots politician playboy Grant, she has a better idea, preferring a love-less relationship to the hard life of nightclub singing. Meandering between social realism and flights of fancy, the film which looks lavish but lacks a convincing plot. Grant seems lost. Dietrich can at least burst into song every other reel or so; nevertheless, this was a mere rest stop in her career.

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE    

 

The Devil Is a Woman (1935) - Josef von Sternberg's final collaboration with Marlene Dietrich (1935) was out of circulation for many years, withheld by Paramount at the request of the Spanish government, which objected to the portrayal of the nation's officials as doom-ridden romantics. But the material world, of Spain or anywhere else, has little to do with Sternberg's creation, which remains one of the most coldly beautiful films ever made. Sternberg's universe is a realm of textures, shadows, and surfaces, which merge and separate in an erotic dance.

 Excerpt from Dave Kehr's review at the Chicago Reader located HERE


Destry Rides Again (1939) - Marvellous comedy Western, with Stewart's pacifist, reputedly wimpy marshal taming the lawless town of Bottleneck by means of words and jokes rather than the gun Donlevy's villain repeatedly provokes him to use. What is remarkable about the film is the way it combines humour, romance, suspense and action so seamlessly (with individual scenes - Dietrich singing 'See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have', Stewart's delicious parable about a homicidal orphan, Mischa Auer losing his pants - indelibly printed in the memory). Flawless performances, pacy direction and a snappy script place it head and shoulders above virtually any other spoof oater.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE     

 

The Lady Is Willing (1942) - A spendthrift stage star (Dietrich) astonishes her entourage (MacMahon, Ridges, Canty) by deciding to raise a foundling baby. Her instant motherhood is as impractical as it is impulsive. This brings her into contact with a pediatrician (MacMurray). He is 'the best' at his job though he says that he detests children; his real interest is in research. In order to adopt the baby she proposes a marriage of convenience - he gets research funds, she gets a doctor on the premises. It's a business arrangement: no sex. Of course complications develop, and eventually.

Excerpt from Senses of Cinema located HERE     

 

A Foreign Affair (1948) - Shot amid the ruins of Berlin, Wilder's satire on the corruption among GIs fraternising with the locals did not go down too well with the Defence Department. Arthur plays a prim congresswoman investigating an army officer (Lund), and when she realises she really has fallen for her man, she has to win him away from the exotic charms of chanteuse Dietrich. This may not be Wilder at his best - the story develops along fairly predictable lines, with Arthur switching her starchy uniform for a glistening evening gown - but there are some precious set pieces, notably a seduction among a row of filing cabinets and Dietrich's club act, not to mention a crackling script.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

 

Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1932- 1948

 DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Universal (6-disc) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution Universal (6-disc) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL

Coming out at the end of November, 2006 is the Marlene Dietrich: Movie Collection - 18-disc - containing Angel, Blonde Venus, Desire, Destry Rides Again, The Devil Is A Woman, Dishonored, The Flames Of New Orleans, Follow The Boys, A Foreign Affair, Golden Earrings, Morocco, Pittsburgh, The Scarlet Empress, Seven Sinners, Shanghai Express, The Song Of Songs, The Spoilers and Touch Of Evil.

The Other Dietrich Classics available at Amazon France:

(CLICK COVERS)

 

 

In Region 1 Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection (Morocco/ Blonde Venus/ The Devil Is a Woman/ Flame of New Orleans/ Golden Earrings) is REVIEWED HERE

           

Runtime 1:06:32 + 1:02:02 + 1:08:04 + 1:03:58
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.11 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/ss 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Audio English (original) 
Subtitles Varied to each release but all have English optional
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• none
 

DVD Release Date: August 28th, 2006
3 transparent keep cases holding 2 discs each - inside a cardboard box (see image at top)

Chapters: various

 

 

Comments:

It seems like we have been waiting for a decent Shanghai Express since the advent of DVD. Well, now it's here.

 

The package was quietly released with very few reports on it. Basically it includes 3 of the same DVDs (exactly the same) sold in France by Universal - Blonde Venus (1932), The Devil Is a Woman (1935) and A Foreign Affair (1948), one film currently available on DVD in region 1 (Destry Rides Again) and 2 new releases - Shanghai Express (1932) and The Lady Is Willing (1942). NOTE: Shanghai Express is actually available in a horrendous DVD from Prestige Films - which can't hold a candle to this one (see capture comparisons below).

 

This Boxset is comprised of three standard-size transparent DVD cases that hold two DVDs each (in individual tab compartments - not overlapping). All are single-layered except A Foreign Affair which is dual layered. All are progressively transferred and have optional English subtitles (although some of the French duplicated DVDs have many more language sub options - English, German, French, Dutch, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish and Danish).

 

     

 

Box 1: The Lady Is Willing (1942) and Shanghai Express (1932)

Box 2: Blonde Venus (1932) and The Devil Is a Woman (1935)

Box 3: Destry Rides Again (1939) and  A Foreign Affair (1948)

 

French DVD of The Devil Is a Woman (1935) is reviewed HERE

The Russian DVD of Shanghai Express (1932) is reviewed HERE

Overall the digital image on these discs look fairly good. Some faux grain/noise and light scratches, occasional dirt but there appears to be no manipulations in brightness boosting and the detail is quite acceptable for films of this age. They are generally consistent. Audio is not stellar but I noted no glaring deficiencies.

There are no extras - but here is the best feature - at present this is 70% OFF at Amazon UK HERE. A huge savings for a great boxset IF you aren't buying the 18 -disc'er coming out November 27th, 2006.  

Gary W. Tooze




DVD Menus


 


Subtitle Sample

 

(Universal (6-disc) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP vs. Film Prestige - Region 0 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Shanghai Express

 

 


(Universal (6-disc) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP vs. Film Prestige - Region 0 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

 


 

 


Blonde Venus
 

 

 


 

 


The Devil id a Woman

 

 


 

 


Destry Rides Again

 

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


The Lady is Wiling

 

 


 

 


A Foreign Affair

 

 


 

 


 

 


DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution Universal (6-disc) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL

Coming out at the end of November, 2006 is the Marlene Dietrich: Movie Collection - 18-disc - containing Angel, Blonde Venus, Desire, Destry Rides Again, The Devil Is A Woman, Dishonored, The Flames Of New Orleans, Follow The Boys, A Foreign Affair, Golden Earrings, Morocco, Pittsburgh, The Scarlet Empress, Seven Sinners, Shanghai Express, The Song Of Songs, The Spoilers and Touch Of Evil.

The Other Dietrich Classics available at Amazon France:

(CLICK COVERS)

 

 

In Region 1 Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection (Morocco/ Blonde Venus/ The Devil Is a Woman/ Flame of New Orleans/ Golden Earrings) is REVIEWED HERE

           




 

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