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
The one thing everyone seems to miss Is that Lionel Atwill looks a lot like Sternberg. Looking at the Dietrich/Sternberg collaborations it's hard not to notice that Adolph Menjou, Herbert Marshall, and Lionel Atwill seem to be Sternberg surrogates, which knowing about the Dietrich/Sternberg relationship, adds a perversity and depth to viewing the films.
If you look at the screen test for Blue Angel available on the blue angle DVD, you can already see Dietrich's disdain that seems an enormous part of her screen character in their collaborations. The Devil is a Woman is a story of a man who ruins his career in pursuit of a woman. Pretty hard not to see parallels to Sternberg's career. This was his last big budget film and one that remains a lasting testament to "l'amour fou."
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