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The Devil Is a Woman (1935) - Josef von Sternberg

Related: German cinema - film - Josef von Sternberg - Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - 1935

Adapted from: La Femme et le Pantin/The She Devils (1898) - Pierre Louys

"Good morning! I came to see if you were dead. If you had loved me enough you would have killed yourself last night." --Concha Perez to Don Pasqual

Sternberg's final film with Dietrich, as precisely aimed as a whiplash to the coccyx. Marlene is Concha Perez, cigarette factory girl, sailing serenely through a comic-opera Spain in a steely, deeply-felt analysis of male masochism. Sternberg adapts the same Pierre Louys novel as Buñuel did for That Obscure Object of Desire, but he does it from the inside, centreing on the experience of two men (a young revolutionary and an older military man) who love Marlene and compulsively submit to the agonies of being rejected by her. Even those who go only for the Dietrich glamour can't miss these underlying tensions, since the stoic acceptance of emotional pain undermines all the surface frivolity. Some will find the glittering cruelty sublime. Unique now, as it was then. TR via Time Out Film Guide 13 via http://www.timeout.com/film/65378.html [Aug 2006]

The Devil Is a Woman (1935) - Josef von Sternberg [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


The Devil is a Woman is a 1935 film by Josef von Sternberg, adapted from the 1898 novel La Femme et le pantin by Pierre Louÿs. The film was based on a screenplay by John Dos Passos. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil_is_a_Woman [Aug 2006]

One of the most sophisticated films in the Josef von Sternberg-Marlene Dietrich canon, The Devil Is a Woman is an alluring romance about a cold-hearted temptress who destroys the lives of two best friends (Cesar Romero and Lionel Atwill) during the Spanish revolution. What do you expect? It's carnival week in the port town of Seville. Supposedly this film was Dietrich's personal favorite because of the way it captured her beauty. Interestingly, the script was by John Dos Passos and the same source material was used as the inspiration for Luis Buñuel's That Obscure Object of Desire. --Bill Desowitz, Amazon.com

[T]he Devil Is a Woman, a title forced on von Sternberg, is adapted from Pierre Louys’ 1898 novel Le Femme et le pantin, as was Bunuel’s That Obscure Object of Desire. It’s set during a hallucinatory Spanish carnival during which all rules are suspended and license reigns. Von Sternberg’s most synthetic film, it brims with delirious artifice: in lighting, décor, costume, performance, narrative movement. At times, the dialogue makes sense only if one assumes that Dietrich and her director are speaking directly to each other about their cinematic collaboration. --Kathleen Murphy

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