Marlene (1984 film)
|Directed by||Maximilian Schell|
|Produced by||Zev Braun
|Written by||Maximilian Schell
|Music by||Nicolas Economou|
|Edited by||Heidi Genée
|Distributed by||Futura Film, Munich|
Marlene, also known in Germany as Marlene Dietrich - Porträt eines Mythos, is a 1984 documentary film made by Maximilian Schell about the legendary film star Marlene Dietrich. It was made by Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) and OKO-Film and released by Futura Film, Munich and Alive Films, (USA).
Marlene Dietrich and Maximilian Schell had worked together on Judgment at Nuremberg in 1961. Dietrich had become a virtual recluse in her Paris apartment on the Avenue Montaigne. Schell tried to persuade her for years to participate in a documentary about her life. She continuously refused. In 1982, she eventually agreed to participate in the project on condition that she did not appear. The film therefore consists of an audio commentary and the visuals illustrate her career by showing film clips and stills from her films, as well as newsreel footage. She was contracted for "40 hours of talking"  as she reminds Schell during one of their exchanges. The film consists of voice interviews between Schell and Dietrich in which she often ignores his questions, makes acerbic comments about, among other things, some of the people she has worked with and some of the books written about her life and films. In the process, she touches on the subjects of life and death, reality and illusion and the nature of stardom.
The film contains clips from the following films:
- Love Tragedy (1923)
- I Kiss Your Hand, Madame (1929)
- The Blue Angel (1930)
- Morocco (1930)
- Dishonored (1931)
- Blonde Venus (1932)
- The Scarlet Empress (1934)
- The Devil is a Woman (1935)
- Desire (1936)
- Destry Rides Again (1939)
- Citizen Kane (1941)
- Stage Fright (1950)
- Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
- Touch of Evil (1958)
- Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
- Just a Gigolo (1979)
Awards and nominations
The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary (1986). It won the Best Production Award at the Bavarian Film Awards, the Outstanding Non-Feature Film at the German Film Awards and the Best Documentary Award from the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, the National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA and the Boston Society of Film Critics Awards.
Marlene was rankled by the raw and vulnerable portrayal of her in the movie, thinking it would be an ordinary biography documentary, and she didn't speak to Schell for a year. However, she was won over by the glowing reviews of the film, and after it was nominated for an academy award she reconciled with him.
- NY Times
- "NY Times: Marlene". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
- "Maximilian Schell directs Marlene Dietrich documentary". The Daily Gazette. Retrieved 2016-09-02.