"I Wish You Love" offers a time capsule of Miss Dietrich's legendary stage act. The television special was taped in London over two days and later edited to a one-hour concert version. Dietrich wasn't pleased with the final result, saying that it "ain't as good," not on a par with her usual exellence. Still, if this late Dietrich concert doesn't show the diva at her most brilliant, it is still fascinating to watch her cast her spell over an audience and the artful way in which she manoevures their every emotion with her choreographed moves and song. She sings some of her old movie songs, war ballads and love songs. Highlights include her rendition of "Where have all the flowers gone." Written by
I first saw Marlene as a child in 1968 with my parents. She was appearing at the Lunt Fontaine on Broadway. I remember the overture went on forever and then finally the curtains parted and there she was. A big blond bouffant hairdo and that famous white fur coat. People were screaming, applauding and gasping just at the sight of her. She then did the show of her movie and nightclub hits. I remember being totally mesmerized by her and not being sure why. Believe me the video of her 1973 show does her little justice, there was something about her that totally intriguing. Her voice though it had little range along with her sly smiles, sexy stance and hand gestures made her a total original on stage. When she came to singing Lile Marlene I remember the audience crying, I looked around and you saw tears streaming down faces and then at the finale the whole place screaming and jumping to their feet. People screamed bravo from the balcony. The audience for her TV concert seemed so dead compared to how it was on Broadway. After the show there were hundreds of people outside the theatre and Miss Dietrich, being a star from the days of real stars loved every minute of it. She threw kisses, stood for pictures and waved to the mobs.
I was lucky in 1974 as a teenager to see her one more time at Carnegie Hall. By then I had read about her and understood about her part in World War 2 and her tours singing for the soldiers. Although she was older she still was able to totally mesmerize the audience. I have never heard a more powerful rendition of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone". The hair on my neck stood up, she totally riveted me for every second she was on stage.
Marlene was pure magic, plain and simple she was a star when there was such things. Sadly her art does not come across totally on records or films. I feel so lucky I can close my eyes and remember those two nights from long ago.
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