24 April 2011

Restoration of "The Devil Is A Woman" At TCM Film Fest

The Museum of Modern Art's new restoration of the 1935 Dietrich-von Sternberg collaboration, The Devil Is A Woman, will be premiere at the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival.

From their website:

Industry censor Joe Breen wanted her killed for her sins. The Spanish government wanted her taken out of circulation altogether. But for film lovers, Marlene Dietrich's Concha Perez has become one of the great icons of forbidden love. For his last film with protégée Dietrich, Josef von Sternberg created a fantasy version of Spain during Carnival time as the setting for a delirious study of male masochism. The star was at her most sensual as the factory girl who rises in the world through the love of a police captain but can't stay true to him or any man. Fans now adore the film for its dazzling style and exotic perversity, but audiences at the time didn't quite get it. When Spain threatened to ban all Paramount pictures over the film's depiction of their police guard, the studio pulled it from worldwide distribution and destroyed the master. They also released von Sternberg from his contract prematurely ending a level of artistic freedom that the director would never enjoy again. THE DEVIL IS A WOMAN remained largely unseen until 1959, when the studio screened it at the Venice Film Festival and included it in a package of classic pictures sold to television. Dietrich, who has called the film her favorite, saved her own print in a bank vault. That print was the source of an '80s art-house re-issue and subsequent DVD versions. A new restoration from the Museum of Modern Art makes its world premiere at this festival screening.

The Devil Is A Woman will be screened at 22:15 this coming thursday (28 April) at the Chinese Multiplex, adjacent to Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

Further information at the TCM Classic Film Festival website.

One scene that won't be projected at the festival is Marlene's sensational performance of "If It Isn't Pain (Then It Isn't Love)", a number censored from the film in 1935. Only Marlene's prerecording survives:


  1. You read my mind! I saw news of this screening a few days ago and also listened to this very clip, thinking the two would make for a thrilling post. The speaker for this screening is Katie Trainor, who is Film Collections Manager at MOMA. I didn't plan to attend this screening, but I'll look into it now because I would like to ask whether the footage for this song is hiding somewhere within an archivists' ark.

  2. I wonder what they sourced the new restoration from? The print used for the DVD was pretty good!

    I wonder if there is any surviving footage from "I Loved A Soldier"!

  3. This is very exciting. I agree that the dvd looks fantastic. Oh to see it on the big screen. I always did feel like Concha got a raw deal!

  4. missladiva, I can ask about the source of The Devil Is a Woman and I Loved a Soldier if I do end up going. The only reason why I hesitate is because I have watched The Devil Is a Woman so many times already and even saw it at at the Egyptian Theatre in 2005. Seeing Concha on the silver screen was the first time I realized that her natural eyebrow ridges were several centimeters below the fake ones!

  5. Speaking of TCM...Dietrich will conclude its annual "Summer Under The Stars" in August, as 24 hours of her films will be shown on the 31st (three days after Carole Lombard is similarly honored, BTW). Others of note to be part of this year's SUTS include Jean Gabin, Orson Welles, James Stewart and Conrad Veidt. Find out more at

  6. It must have been packed because none of us in the stand-by line got in. When I saw this film on the big screen in 2005, there couldn't have been more than 20 people in the theater. I think I had a row to myself. What a delight to see the Dietrich resurgence!

  7. Ja, sennilega svo pad er