it might seem quite a jump from the smoky cabaret of agnes bernelle to the smoky glitz of marlene dietrich. but then again they used to live in the same neighbourhood in berlin and seemingly agnes’ father gave miss dietrich early roles. and let’s not forget that marlene dietrich rose to fame in the role of a cabaret singer in der blaue engel: ja, die fesche lola.
and we can also take up the thread of the artist and society, the political. as leni riefenstahl, marlene dietrich was certainly very much into style, finding a congenial partner in the director von sternberg. unlike miss riefenstahl she had very clear political points of view and voiced them also very clearly. she stated that she no longer wanted to be a citizen of a country ruled by nazis and consequently became an american citizen. she also supported the boys (the allied troops) by being part of the entertainment for soldiers. it must have been in a way a good time for her – seeing her talking about these times in different filmed interviews gives me the feeling that it was a time of urgency, a time where she seemed to know exactly that she had to this. in a way her comments always come across as she would judge this as her most important contribution she made in her life…
after the war her movie career slowed somewhat down, but her musical career did take off. again she found a congenial partner. burt bacharach. and still she was also visually stunning: be iti n her trademark flesh coloured, nearly naked looking glittering gowns and her swan feather coat, be it in a man’s smoking. aaahhh… ambiguity rarely looked that good.
i leave it at that with my comments. there is much on the net and off the net to get you deeper into the mistery she was. i will leave you with something for the eyes and the ears, with four live recording spanning ten years of her musical years from 1954 to 1964. the first one i got off the net quite some time ago: thanks to the original uploader! and yes, i am still looking for a vynil copy of this – i mean, that cover…
the second and the third are vinyl-, and the fourth a cd-rip from my collection. the vinyls are ripped each side by side, meaning two files per record. and don’t be too confused if you came across the same records looking different but sounding the same or the other way around: all these records exist in different variations (regarding the cover and the tracklisting). i would like to add that these last three are all recorded under the musical supervision of mister bacharach. and yes, the last one i originally bought especially for one song. a song which we will find in another version (an absolutely stunning version, i might add) in one of the following posts. and now: enjoy!
live at the café de paris, london, 1954 – introduction by noël coward
dietrich in rio 1959
wiedersehen mit marlene, germany 1960
at queen’s theatre, london 1964