Review: ‘The Devil Is a Woman’

Josef von Sternberg both directed and photographed The Devil Is a Woman, working with a Pierre Louys classic The Woman and the Puppet which gives the reader a cross-section of a ruthless courtesan and not much else. While Devil is a somewhat monotonous picture, Sternberg has given it clever photography and background. Marlene Dietrich has done the rest in playing the Louys trollop, turning in a fine performance.

Josef von Sternberg both directed and photographed The Devil Is a Woman, working with a Pierre Louys classic The Woman and the Puppet which gives the reader a cross-section of a ruthless courtesan and not much else. While Devil is a somewhat monotonous picture, Sternberg has given it clever photography and background. Marlene Dietrich has done the rest in playing the Louys trollop, turning in a fine performance.

Story is told in a background of southern Spain during a fiesta, this permitting Sternberg some big mob scenes and color, plus music. It opens on la Dietrich of today as a gorgeously desirable woman who has caught the eye of a young visitor. He is about to stage a rendezvous with her when he meets an old friend (Atwill), who tells him of his sad experience with the same woman, most of the story then being told by flashback.

Edward Everett Horton is in on a couple of sequences at opening and near close, he and his political associates raising the only laughs that occur. Caprice Espagnol, vet classic, and other Spanish music is employed for melodic background in an effective manner.

The Devil Is a Woman

Production

Paramount. Director Josef von Sternberg; Screenplay John Dos Passon, Sam Winston; Camera Josef von Sternberg, Lucien Ballard; Editor Sam Winston; Music Ralph Rainger, Andrea Setaro (arr.); Art Director Hans Dreier

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1935. Running time: 76 MIN.

With

Marlene Dietrich Cesar Romero Lionel Atwill Edward Everett Horton Alison Skipworth Don Alvarado
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