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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Morocco (1930)

A cabaret chanteuse (Marlene Dietrich) with a mysterious past sings in a Moroccan dive where she attracts the attention of a soldier (Gary Cooper) in the French Foreign Legion. Both are cynics when it comes to romance but they can't deny the pull they feel about each other. Based on the play AMY JOLLY by Benno Vigny and directed by Josef von Sternberg, this pre-code romance holds a fascination for a great many film buffs. While I'm not as enamored of the film as most, there's no denying the exotic attraction of all its silliness. Neither Dietrich or Cooper are very sympathetic characters and I found myself siding with Adolphe Menjou, who plays Dietrich's wealthy love struck sugar daddy. Von Sternberg's direction is more languid than I'm fond of but Lee Garmes' B&W cinematography is excellent and he goes with some striking long panning shots that are impressive. The film contains two iconic moments in 30s cinema. Dietrich in a man's suit kissing another woman on the mouth and the memorable last shot of Dietrich marching off into the desert with other female camp followers. With Ullrich Haupt, Eve Southern and Paul Porcasi.

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