Director Josef von Sternberg
Year 1931
Starring Marlene Dietrich, Victor McLaglen, Warner Oland
Run Time 91min
More Info IMDb

Screening in 35mm as part of the series DIETRICH & VON STERNBERG!

An actor-director match made in Hollywood heaven: Josef von Sternberg found the perfect muse for his sumptuous experiments in lighting and mise-en-scène in the glamorous Marlene Dietrich. Their seven films together “constitute one of the most dazzling runs of creativity in the history of the movies” (Dave Kehr, The New York Times).

Once you’ve had the sublime pleasure of seeing DISHONORED on the big screen, you’ll appreciate why Jean-Luc Godard in 1963 considered it one of the greatest American sound films ever made. Sternberg’s tale of sexual sacrifice, disguised as an espionage melodrama, opens in 1915, when “strange figures emerge from the dust of the falling Austrian empire.” Marlene Dietrich is the prostitute who reinvents herself as the glamorous, Mata Hari-like spy X-27, using her intoxicating yet elusive charms and a few well-chosen props—lipstick, a pair of stockings, a piano, and a pussycat—to steal hearts and state secrets for her country, only to be done in by her infatuation with an agent (McLaglen) from Austria’s most hated rival, Mother Russia. The film’s famed Viennese masked ball sequence, a triumph of cinematic space and light and shadow, has been frequently quoted but never surpassed.

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