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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Song Of Songs (1933)

A rather naive young country girl (Marlene Dietrich) moves to Berlin to live with her miserly aunt (Alison Skipworth, DANGEROUS). There, she falls in love with a sculptor (Brian Aherne), she poses nude for him, who abandons her thus leaving her in the hands of the crude and decadent Baron (Lionel Atwill) who will transform her. This excessive gaudy melodrama, directed by Rouben Mamoulian, is entertaining in its own flamboyant way but its artistic pretensions are not to be taken seriously. The film is divided into three parts: Dietrich the country girl, Dietrich the bruised Baroness, Dietrich the slut. Curiously, Dietrich is most effective as the trusting country maid though there's nothing rustic about her! Surprisingly, her performance seems to get progressively worse as her character becomes more sophisticated. Innocence, betrayal, suffering, decadence: all the things fans of 30s kitsch could ask for in one movie though one may wonder that this came from the same director who gave us the elegant LOVE ME TONIGHT the year before. With Helen Freeman and Hardie Albright.

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