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Blonde Venus

A disappointer. Much of the blame is to be laid at director Josef von Sternberg's doorstep. In a desire to glamorously built up Marlene Dietrich he sloughs almost every other element that goes to round out a box office production. He devotes two reels to her flight from her husband and all the drab details that went with it, as she scrams from Baltimore to Washington to Nashville to Chattanooga to Savannah to New Orleans, etc, etc. The police reports of her hunt sound like a railroad timetable.

With:
Marlene Dietrich Herbert Marshall Cary Grant Dickie Moore Gene Morgan Robert Emmett O'Connor

A disappointer. Much of the blame is to be laid at director Josef von Sternberg’s doorstep. In a desire to glamorously built up Marlene Dietrich he sloughs almost every other element that goes to round out a box office production. He devotes two reels to her flight from her husband and all the drab details that went with it, as she scrams from Baltimore to Washington to Nashville to Chattanooga to Savannah to New Orleans, etc, etc. The police reports of her hunt sound like a railroad timetable.

Then in a meteoric rise, with no details whatsoever, she’s suddenly again the queen of the nite clubs, this time in Paris, where Cary Grant (who had formerly maintained her) once again meets up with her. In this and previous nite club scenes, Dietrich sings two numbers in that deep, throaty manner of hers, one chorus being in French.

Herbert Marshall is sadly miscast as the radium-poisoned husband who needs funds so badly for a European cure that his devoted wife takes resource to financial succor from such a remote source as influential politician (Grant).

The 93 minutes, despite their episodic and ofttimes ragged sequences, are much too much considering the triteness of the basic story, a theme of mother love of the German-American cafe songstress whose child (well played by Dickie Moore, in perhaps the only convincing casting) is the sympathetic basis of it all. Otherwise there’s little sympathy for any of the characters; neither the hapless husband, the faithless wife nor the other man.

Blonde Venus

Production: Paramount. Director Josef von Sternberg; Screenplay S. K. Lauren, Jules Furthman; Camera Bert Glennon; Editor [uncredited]; Music [uncredited]; Art Director [Wiard Ihnen]

Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1932. Running time: 93 MIN.

With: Marlene Dietrich Herbert Marshall Cary Grant Dickie Moore Gene Morgan Robert Emmett O'Connor

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