Dead or Alive - On my own personal list of "Top 10 Most Despised Movie Stars", Marlene Dietrich ranks right up there at #3. ~~~ Had this documentary been about someone else other than Dietrich, then most likely I would've rated it considerably higher. But, with that said, "Marlene" is, in fact, quite an impressive documentary in its own right, even though it is about someone as despicable as Dietrich. ~~~ Directed by Maximilian Schell, "Marlene's" unconventionality as a "movie star" documentary comes from the fact that even though Dietrich agreed to participate in Schell's little movie-project, she adamantly refused to appear on camera. ~~~ I, for one, am tres' glad that Dietrich made this intelligent decision not to show her face on screen. I mean, she would've been 84 at the time of this film and after seeing what she looked like at 80 in Just A Gigolo, with the skin of her face all stretched out from way too many face-lifts - Well, the truth is - At this point Dietrich would've been a real horror-show to look at. ~~~ Filmed almost entirely on a set that represented Dietrich's Paris apartment, Schell and Dietrich, on audio-tape, carry out their intimate, little interview behind the scenes, while on the screen things are very busy with non-stop images of a much younger Dietrich culled from stills, films, and newsreel footage. ~~~ Always right in character, Dietrich, being as stubborn and uncooperative as ever, often completely ignored Schell's questions and just went off on a screwy, little tangent, spinning her own "Dietrich"-version of what the frick the real "Marlene Dietrich" was all about. ~~~ "Marlene" - It surely isn't a truly accountable documentary, but, all the same, it is relatively interesting, with the eeriest shades of "Sunset Boulevard" thrown in for good measure.
"It's so kitsch!"
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