Young Princess Sophia of Germany is taken to Russia to marry the half-wit Grand Duke Peter, son of the Empress. The domineering Empress hopes to improve the royal blood line. Sophia doesn't... See full summary »
A young woman, Poppy, out for excitement in Shanghai, enters a gambling house owned by "Mother" Gin Sling, a dragon-lady who worked herself up from poverty to buy the casino. Sir Guy ... See full summary »
Josef von Sternberg directed, photographed, provides the voice-over narration and wrote the screenplay (from a based-on-actual event novel by Michiro Maruyana translated by Younghill Kang) ... See full summary »
Laurence Gerard has just divorced. While leading fat lover Talandier by the nose, She meets the count Lerski, who now works as waiter but do not tell her. When she hears from her husband he... See full summary »
Pierre de Guingand
The local building-contractor Martin Roumagnac is fascinated by the fashionable Blanche Ferrand. To impress Blache, Martin presents her with a villa. However, this ruins him financially. ... See full summary »
Southern France, the present. About to marry, Charles Leblanc glimpses beautiful Stascha with her autocratic older companion, Karoff. They meet shortly after on a train. Stascha confesses ... See full summary »
Country orphan Lily goes to Berlin to stay with her tippling aunt, and soon meets Richard, handsome sculptor across the street. Persuaded half-reluctantly to pose for Richard, her physical ... See full summary »
Joan and Magdalen are the daughters of a fisherman. Magdalen leaves her fiancé, Peter, to run off to the big city. Joan and Peter marry. Magdalen's return years later causes trouble for the... See full summary »
Josef von Sternberg
Charles K. French
Young Princess Sophia of Germany is taken to Russia to marry the half-wit Grand Duke Peter, son of the Empress. The domineering Empress hopes to improve the royal blood line. Sophia doesn't like her husband, but she likes Russia, and is very fond of Russian soldiers. She dutifully produces a son -- of questionable fatherhood, but no one seems to mind that. After the old empress dies, Sophia engineers a coup d'etat with the aid of the military, does away with Peter, and becomes Catherine the Great. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
Catherine II is a woman of the 18th century, yet Dietrich depicts her with the depilated eyebrows and cupid bow lips that were fashionable in 1934. See more »
The equine theme running through this bizarre, campy, creepy, cynical, disturbingly beautiful bio-pic is quite significant, given the facts of the life and death of Catherine the Great, culminating in the wildly over-the-top final shot. This movie just drips with European social and sexual decadence, and also with incredibly lavish and languid imagery throughout. Dietrich and von Sternberg seem determined to prove that they could make the transformation of a naive romantic girl into a lascivious power-mad monarch somehow heroic, and also that American audiences would lap it up while denying the depth of the depravity they were embracing. This movie succeeds on every level, especially the subversive one...
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