On the eve of World War II (1939) English officer Ralph Denistoun is in Nazi Germany on an espionage mission to recover a poison gas formula from Prof. Krosigk. He is helped by Lydia and ... See full summary »
Film told in flashbacks of an older man's obsession for a woman who can belong to no-one but can frustrate everyone. The backdrop is SternbergÍs surreal and fantastic Carnaval in Spain. In a café the older man details his encounters with the heart breaker that his younger friend has only just met at the parade. Forewarned, the young man swears he will avoid the fate of his friend, but rushes all the same to his evening rendezvous. A dreamlike story of frustrated, lost romance, spoken in the past tense, never really resolved.Written by
In a 1971 film interview with Swedish television, her first television interview, Marlene Dietrich claimed that this was her favorite film that she had made with director Josef von Sternberg. In later years, she would go on to say that it was her all-time favorite out of all of her films. See more »
It has to be said that this film is an amazing achievement. The Devil is a Woman is a lush and vibrant film, and you really do get the impression that a lot of thought has gone into every scene. The script allows the characters to grow in front of the audience's eyes both in relation to each other and in their own right. Furthermore, the acting is fantastic; with Lionel Atwill convincing as a heartbroken former lover of Marlene Dietrich's cold hearted femme fatale. It's Dietrich that commands every scene she's in and gives an all round amazing performance in the title role. Furthermore, the Spanish setting is superb, and provides a beautiful location for this complex love story to take place in. But it's not the technical elements that make this film so great; it's the plot. We first get to know the characters during a conversation between a fancy man and a former lover of the same woman. The older man tells the younger of his times with said lady, and we get a fully painted picture of all the protagonists through this. The film offers a great portrait of love and frustration; with the title itself referring more towards the lead man's experience with the title character rather than the character herself. The Devil is a Woman is certainly not a fluffy romance flick, but it is a film that works on two levels; on one hand, it tells its story straight and so is easy to get into, but on the other it provides a story with a chasm of depth if you're willing to look for it.
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