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Josef von Sternberg,
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Josef von Sternberg
Charles K. French
Dishonored is the third of three films that the director/player team of Josef Von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich and the second for Paramount when they were imported from Weimar Germany. After the great reviews she got for the Blue Angel and Morocco, it was hoped they'd keep up the good standards of those two. Sadly they didn't.
Originally Dishonored was planned for Gary Cooper and Dietrich to be re-teamed from Morocco, but Cooper could not stand Von Sternberg and flat out refused the role. So what did Paramount do, they got a guy who was more incongruous as a Russian and definitely not a sex symbol who Marlene would throw her life away for, Victor McLaglen.
The film has Marlene, a war widow in 1915 now just getting by as a prostitute in this before the Code drama. She gets recruited by the chief of Austrian intelligence, Gustav Von Seyfertitz, to get the goods on Field Marshal Warner Oland whom they suspect of treason.
She does the job, but then falls for Oland's Russian contact McLaglen. I can't go on any more with the script, but the theme of this film was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David forty years later, What I Did For Love.
Marlene carried this one on her back more than the other two where she had a good story to help her. She's sexy and alluring as all get out, she has to be because if she wasn't the audiences would have been rolling up the aisles. As it was McLaglen as a Russian must have brought a lot of birth. He's as Russian as Chris-Pin Martin.
Dishonred is for Marlene's die-hard fans only.
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