Director Josef von Sternberg
Year 1935
Starring Marlene Dietrich, Lionel Atwill, Edward Everett Horton, Cesar Romero
Run Time 79min
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).

Dietrich and von Sternberg headed to Spain for their final collaboration, in which she plays Concha Perez, a beautiful seductress whose fickle ways drive rival suitors to extremes. Sternberg’s coldly formalist approach lends the melodramatic proceedings a cruel, ironic edge as passions and tempers boil over in an abstract world of glittering surfaces.

THE DEVIL IS A WOMAN is essentially of a translation of the Sternberg/Dietrich relationship into visual poetry and metaphor. Dietrich steadfastly maintained that it was her favorite of the films they made together, and many observers have commented on the obvious physical similarity between Sternberg and his two male protagonists, Lionel Atwill and Cesar Romero. There are no melodramatic subplots to cushion the blows or sugarcoat the pill. The film is as raw as the emotions it portrays, as raw as the wounds Dietrich blithely inflicts.

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