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MARLENE by Marlene Dietrich Kirkus Star


By Marlene Dietrich

ISBN: 8021-1117-3
Publisher: Grove

The deeply moving autobiography of the three Marlenes. One is the well-tutored daughter of a wealthy German family, musically skilled, trilingual, very well read, a determinedly logical woman, the Marlene, in short, who writes this book but is forever dependent upon the leadership of the second Marlene--fabricated by the German and Hollywood film industries, a glittering, sexually ambiguous creature of lights, outrageous costumes, and kitschy scripts. And then there is a third Marlene: for 30 years a superb chanteuse ("Lili Marlen," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?") who straddles the line between the audience's nostalgia for her invented past and her own wryness and love for the tremendous life she did live in reality--in the company of great actors, great directors, and great writers and as a mother and grandmother and as an American wax veteran who enlisted for the duration, put herself in great danger and immense discomfort to entertain the front-line troops of her adopted country, and was given a vastly well-deserved Medal of Freedom. Highlights herein include: Dietrich persuading a reluctant Mary Walsh to accept the hand of Dietrich's beloved buddy Ernest Hemingway; her rediscovery (she'd been in several silent films) and launching in Germany by her adored Josef von Sternberg as the whorish Lola-Lola in his The Blue Angel and in his six sensational Hollywood classics that feature her as a heartlessly alluring seductress (e.g., The Devil Is a Woman, a role far, far removed from her sheltered, refined true spirit); her majestic return to postwar Germany, in one blow overcoming her vilification as a traitor and capturing all hearts; her love and reverence for Orson Welles, Billy Wilder, Hitchcock, Richard Burton, and many others. Dietrich's voice and flat-out honesty on every page, well captured by translator Attanasio, bring one of the century's most fabulous beings to brilliant life.