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The Devil is a Woman

The final of six Paramount collaborations between director von Sternberg and star Marlene Dietrich, whose relationship over the preceding five years sparked numerous rumors but had essentially fallen apart right before the production began, The Devil is a Woman sees the pair going out with a bang in this fin-de-siècle Spain-set drama. Dietrich is Concha Perez, a legendary and notorious seductress caught between two friends (Lionel Atwill and Cesar Romero) vying for her affection. Von Sternberg also acted as cinematographer on this uniquely structured film that was—and remains—controversial for its frank depiction of sexual violence, made all the more unsettling in the wake of his and Dietrich’s failed relationship. Paramount shelved the film for many years due to objections from the Spanish government, which was opposed to the unseemly depiction of government officials.

Genres: Drama

Other Films by Josef von Sternberg

The Scarlet Empress

Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg tackle the historical costume drama—in this case the court of Catherine the Great. However, the normal stodginess is upended in a true Sternbergian, expressionist style, complete with hedonistic parties and political intrigue that will make anyone blush. Bratty princess Sophia Frederica (Dietrich) is married into Russian royalty, but is

Blonde Venus

Six months after the massive success of their other 1932 collaboration, Shanghai Express, Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg tackled a relatively tamer beast: the domestic drama. Dietrich, by now legendary for her gender-bending public persona and deeply seductive performances, stars as Helen, a housewife and mother whose chemist husband Ned (Herbert Marshall) becomes gravely

Shanghai Express

The film that completely cemented Marlene Dietrich in Hollywood lore, Shanghai Express features some of von Sternberg’s most indelible compositions and staged situations as the titular train moves from Peking to Shanghai, picking up melodrama and tragedy along its circuitous route. Dietrich stars as Shanghai Lily, a courtesan traveling with a like-minded friend (Anna May

Dishonored

A spy thriller featuring Josef von Sternberg’s considerable talents at creating and evoking both atmosphere and deeply buried emotion, Dishonored is one of the director’s finest—and most unusual—collaborations with star Marlene Dietrich. Set in WWI Vienna with the war raging, Marie Kolverer (Dietrich), a widowed sex worker and piano virtuoso, catches the attention of the

Morocco

Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg’s first Hollywood collaboration, Morocco is a gauzy, dust-covered tale of lust and betrayal, following the ex-patriot cabaret singer Amy Jolly (Dietrich) as she resettles in the North African country. Caught between two men—the wealthy interloper La Bessière (Adolphe Menjou) and the rough-around-the-edges légionnaire Tom (Gary Cooper)—Amy lacks in both