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Bijou, a saloon singer with a reputation for inciting brouhahas, is one of several deportees from a south Pacific island to arrive at another U.S. protectorate, Boni Komba. She becomes very popular with U.S. navy men by performing at the 'Seven Sinners'. A navy Lieutenant is attracted to Bijou despite the Governor's machinations to keep them apart, and the competing affections of local mobster, Antro. Will the Lieutenant give up the navy for Bijou, and will he survive Antro's forces? Written by
Gary Jackson <email@example.com>
After Marlene Dietrich at a new studio, Universal, had made something of a comeback in Destry Rides Again, the studio was understandably looking for new properties to follow it up.
They certainly got one in Seven Sinners, a really great blend of satirical comedy and drama. Certainly Dietrich is no poor man's Sadie Thompson. One wonders why she never did her own version of Rain. She pokes fun at that type of character, but there is a skillful blend of both drama and satire in this film.
Stagecoach was done the year before and with it John Wayne finally joined the list of A players. Director Tay Garnett had Wayne in mind for this film, but Dietrich would have the final approval. The story goes he deliberately arranged for Dietrich to have lunch at the studio commissary at a time Wayne would be there. She took one look at Wayne who reminded her so much of former lover Gary Cooper, she said to Garnett in that Dietrich baritone, "Daddy, buy me that."
This is Dietrich's film, but there's enough action to satisfy any Wayne fan. Tay Garnett assembled a good supporting cast with good girl Anna Lee, Dietrich retainers Mischa Auer and Broderick Crawford, befuddled owner of the Seven Sinners Cafe Billy Gilbert, and the very sinister Oscar Homolka.
Up until All the King's Men, the part that Broderick Crawford played here was a typical part, the dumb lug who's the hero/heroine's friend. He does it well, but Crawford resented the typecasting. He was quoted as saying that while he never considered himself the world's greatest wit, he did resent playing half a one all the time back in the day. This was Crawford's only film with Wayne and that's interesting because both of them were heavy boozers.
Dietrich like in Destry Rides Again has two good songs to sing written by fellow German expatriate Frederick Hollander and Frank Loesser, I've Been in Love Before and The Man's in the Navy. She also sings I Can't Give You Anything But Love, one of the great standards back in the day.
Seven Sinners is classic Marlene Dietrich one of her most enjoyable films and John Wayne fans will like it also.
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