Dietrich & von Sternberg in Hollywood
She would be revered as one of the most famous sex symbols of the twentieth century. He would become renowned as one of early sound cinema’s most accomplished visionaries—and then reviled for his grueling techniques and disparagement of actors. She was Marlene Dietrich and he was Josef von Sternberg, a German actress and a New York raised, Austrian born emigre who would, with seven features create one of the most impressive cinematic collaborations ever accomplished in their medium. The esteemed Criterion Collection brings together, for the first time in one stellar box-set, the six Hollywood features they made together from 1930-1935 which brought them together and tore them apart by the end of their working relationship.

Throughout the six films in the set -- Morocco (1930), Dishonored (1931), Shanghai Express (1932), Blonde Venus (1932), The Scarlet Empress (1934) and The Devil is a Woman (1935) -- von Sternberg and Dietrich show off their range, covering melodrama, tragedy, thrills, a touch of comedy, and plenty of romance (almost every one finds Dietrich with multiple suitors). Crediting von Sternberg alone with the "creation" of Dietrich's image arguably undermines her talents, but it's safe to say that their works leave both of them looking good, as Dietrich gamely meets each one of von Sternberg's new challenges, and von Sternberg's vision becomes increasingly elaborate.

Morocco 1930

Morocco (1930)

The beautiful vaudeville singer Amy Jolly (Dietrich) arrives in exotic Morocco to try her luck in a nightclub that has become the favorite spot of the soldiers from the French Legion. On the night when she makes her first appearance in the club, Amy encounters the handsome legionnaire Tom Brown (Gary Cooper), and even though she immediately realizes that he is a womanizer becomes attracted to him. She then flirts with him and he promptly finds the way to her new home.
The singer also attracts the attention of the aging aristocrat Monsieur La Bessiere (Adolphe Menjou), who is a bachelor and has been dreaming of meeting a sophisticate European beauty to settle down with.


Weimar on the Pacific - in this new documentary feature, film scholars Gerd Gemunden and Noah Isenberg discuss the classic cinematic image of Marlene Dietrich, her work with Josef von Sternberg, and her time in Hollywood. The documentary was produced exclusively for Criterion in 2018. In English, not subtitled. (30 min, 1080p).

Janet Bergstrom - in this video featurette, film scholar Janet Bergstrom discusses the production history of Morocco. The featurette was produced by Robert Fischer for Fiction Factory in 2014. In English, not subtitled. (32 min, 1080p).

The Real Amy Jolly - in this new video interview, Deutsche Kinemathek curator Silke Ronneburg discusses the real Amy Jolly and some of the differences between her and the character played by Marlene Dietrich in Morocco. The interview was conducted in 2018. In German, with optional English subtitles. (5 min, 1080p).

The Legionnaire and the Lady - presented here is a vintage radio adaptation of Morocco which was presented by Lux Radio Theatre on June 1, 1936. In English, not subtitled. (60 min, 1080p).

Dishonored 1931

Dishonored (1931)

Dietrich plays a widow who makes ends meet as a prostitute on the gloomy streets of Vienna during WWI. On a cold and rainy night she attracts the attention of a middle-aged gentleman (Gustav von Seyffertitz) who hires her for a bit of fun but later on actually tests her loyalty to her country. After he concludes that she can be trusted, the client reveals that he is the head of the Austrian Secret Service and invites her to join his team of spies. Shortly after, the prostitute becomes agent X-27.


Dietrich Icon - in this new video program, film scholars Mary Desjardins, Amy Lawrence, and Patricia White discuss the emergence and establishment of Marlene Dietrich as a Hollywood icon as well as her professional relationship with Josef von Sternberg. The program was produced exclusively for Criterion in 2018. In English, not subtitled. (22 min, 1080p).

Bodies and Spaces, Fabric and Light - this new visual essay focuses on the visual style and composition of the Hollywood films that Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg made together. The essay was created by film scholars Cristina Alvarez Lopez and Adrian Martin for Criterion in 2018. In English, not subtitled. (30 min, 1080p).

Nicholas von Sternberg - in this documentary, Nicholas von Sternberg, son of director Josef von Sternberg, remembers his father and his decision to become a cameraman (so that he could be closer to him), and discusses his style -- and specifically his management of light and shadow, which resembled painting -- as well as his relationship with Marlene Dietrich. The documentary was produced by Robert Fischer for Fiction Factory in 2014. In English, not subtitled. (15 min, 1080i).

Shanghai Express 1932

Shanghai Express (1932)

Von Sternberg does a number of interesting things with the energy and tempo of the film to imitate the actual rhythm of a moving train. Almost immediately after the Shanghai Express leaves the station in Peking one gets the sense that the movement occurs in real time.

As the motley crew of passengers in first-class settle down someone mentions that the notorious courtesan Shanghai Lily (Dietrich) is amongst them and a few panic. But they don't know how to recognize her, so they are left speculating and even doubting whether the revelation is legit. The only passenger that knows Lily is Captain Donald Harvey (Clive Brook), a British doctor who is on his way to Shanghai where he is expected to perform an urgent operation. The doctor is Lily's former lover who years ago left her after she played a trick on him to test the strength of their relationship. Meanwhile, Henry Chang (Warner Oland) reveals himself to be the leader of a Chinese rebel army, forcing the train to stop before it reaches its destination.


Homay King - in this brand new video interview, film scholar Homay King, author of Lost in Translation: Orientalism, Cinema, and the Enigmatic Signifier, discusses Josef von Sternberg's cinematic vision of China. some of the socio-political themes that are part of the narrative of Shanghai Express, and the role of star Anna May Wong. The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in 2018. In English, not subtitled. (26 min, 1080p).

Blonde Venus 1932

Blonde Venus (1932)

In the short prologue, the beautiful German cabaret singer Helen meets the handsome American Ned Faraday (Herbert Marshall) and they fall madly in love. The action then moves to New York City where Helen and Ned have started a family and are raising their five-year-old son Johnny (Dickie Moore). Everything seems perfect, but it isn't because Ned is seriously ill and unless he undergoes a very expensive treatment in Europe it is virtually guaranteed that Helen will become a widow. To get the money that they need, Helen auditions for a shady night club owner (Robert Emmett O'Connor) and after she wows his clientele he gives the star alias Blonde Venus.
At the club, Helen also meets the wealthy playboy Nick Townsend (Cary Grant), who immediately realizes that she is a diamond in the rough who deserves better.


The Marlene Dietrich Collection - in this new program, curator Silke Ronnenburg discusses Marlene Dietrich's large collection of costumes, film art, and documents that is currently kept at Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin. The program was produced exclusively for Criterion in 2018. In German, with optional English subtitles. (15 min, 1080p).

Deborah Nadoolman Landis - in this new video interview, Deborah Nadoolman Landis, director of the David C. Copley Center for the Study of Costume Deisgn at UCLA, discusses the legacy of costume designer Travis Burton, who worked very closely with Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg. The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in 2018. In English, not subtitled. (15 min, 1080p).

The Fashion Side of Hollywood (1935) - this short film by the Paramount publicity department features the head of costumes at the studio at the time, Travis Banton, and a silent Marlene Dietrich modeling the clothes he designed for her. In English, not subtitled. (11 min, 1080p).

The Scarlet Empress 1934

The Scarlet Empress (1934)

The Prussian princess Sophia Frederica (Marlene Dietrich) is told by her father that she is about to begin a new chapter in her life because she is going to Russia to marry the Grand Duke Peter (Sam Jaffe). Sophia of course is not allowed to disagree. Then the handsome Count Alexei (John Lodge) who has come to arrange her journey and escort her back to her future husband presents her with lavish gifts instantly inspire the future bride to dream beautiful dreams.

In Moscow, Sophia is introduced to the powerful Empress Elizabeth (Louise Dresser), who instantly makes it clear that she is expected to deliver a grandson that will become a Tsar. After Sophia meets her dim-witted husband, Elizabeth also changes her name to Catherine. But the marriage disappointing for both parties and Catherine begins a romantic relationship with Alexei, not realizing that he is also visiting the bedroom of her mother-in-law. When the truth eventually comes out, Catherine gradually undergoes a dramatic transformation and uses her charm and wit to take over the throne.


Marlene Dietrich in Denmark, 1971 - in this archival interview, Marlene Dietrich recalls how she was discovered by Josef von Sternberg and cast to play her famous character in The Blue Angel, and discusses her dismissal by the UFA Studios, her working relationship with the director, her success in Hollywood, her performance in The Devil Is a Woman, etc. The interview was filmed for Swedish television but filmed in Copenhagen after a performance at Tivoli Gardens in 1971. In English. (29 min, 1080i).

The Devil is a Woman 1935

The Devil is a Woman (1935)

The story of the film is set in Seville, Spain during the 1890s, at a time when the local residents are honoring an old tradition with a massive carnival. During the event, the young revolutionary Antonio Galvan (Cesar Romero) notices a mysterious beauty (Dietrich) and as she flirts with him follows her back to a gated mansion. Antonio's attempt to trick a servant and get in, however, fails and instead he ends up in a local inn. Here he encounters the retired colonel Don Pasqual (Lionel Atwill), who reveals to him that the elusive beauty that he is after is the notorious singer Concha Perez. The old man then warns Antonio not to get involved with Concha because some years ago she seduced him and after repeatedly emptied his pockets broke his heart. Even after the old man shares various stories about Concha's duplicity, however, at the end of the night Antonio chooses to resume his pursuit of her.


If It Isn't Pain - when Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg made The Devil is a Woman in 1935, Joseph Breen had recently been installed as head of the Production Code Administration, which enforced decency standards in motion pictures. Presented here is the song "If It Isn't Pain" which was removed from the film. The recording comes from a promotional 78rpm disc issued around the release of the film. In English, not subtitled. (3 min, 1080p).

6 x Blu-Ray, 6 x DVD | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 542 min | 210 Gb + 37 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, History, Romance, War, Thriller

Download Dietrich & von Sternberg in Hollywood: Morocco (1930), Dishonored (1931), Dishonored (1931), Blonde Venus (1932), The Scarlet Empress (1934), The Devil is a Woman (1935) Criterion Collection: