Friday, February 11, 2011

Marlene Dietrich in "Morocco"

Marlene Dietrich received her only Oscar nomination for playing Amy Jolly in Morocco.

Morocco is a boring, endlessly uncharismatic film about the Foreign Legion who takes up in Morocco. A young, naive man in the Legion sees an act by a seductive singer from Paris. The two share a careless relationship with each other until they figure out they can't live without one another. The film is visually appealing, but overall the story is so boring and the cast is all over the place, which makes the film a challenge to get through.

Marlene Dietrich is an interesting actress - she is most admired and praised today for her beauty. When I watch her in films, I see the beauty, but hardly any acting ability. Morocco was her American debut and it really shows. Her Amy has just come to the town in Morocco to escape some kind of scandalous past in Paris, she knows she can captivate an audience, and decides she should be an entertainer there. In fact, Morocco is mostly remembered for a 2 second kiss between Dietrich and a woman during her first act. This character is so thinly written, that it seems like the only reason she is there is so Dietrich could be in a movie.

With her accent and her silent roots which show like a sore thumb, there is nothing to admire in Marlene Dietrich's interpretation of Amy. We know she has been jaded by men and really doesn't enjoy being solicited by them, yet we never get that feeling with Marlene. She's sexy, but merely a prop for the sexiness that the film wants to portray. Even when Amy gets to deliver a charming zinger, Marlene ruins it with a fake sounding voice and not knowing the line between being funny and being annoying. There's no depth, more like a picture - nice to look at, but there's nothing to watch or admire. It's part of having a badly written character and part Dietrich really did not know how to handle the character and bring her off of the page.


Louis Morgan said...

I agree completely about her here.

Sage Slowdive said...

I'm glad! It seems like her performance is loved by many.

dinasztie said...

I haven't seen her.

joe burns said...

Haven't seen her, but I have an interest in seeing any movie with her in it. She sounds intriguing.