15 June 2011

Marlene Dietrich Stoops To Conquer The Press

from: Sydney Morning Herald,
22 September 1975

Marlene Dietrich turned the tables on the press at the weekend by giving a press conference.
In recent years Miss Dietrich has been as loath to talk to the press as her 1930s rival, Greta Garbo.

On Saturday she spent 40 minutes sitting in the sunlight at the Loft at the top of the Boulevarde Hotel talking and talking.

She talked, rather than answered questions, on almost everything from photographers - "I hate them" - to relaxing - "I don't."

Miss Dietrich put everyone at ease. She was asked: "Will you ever make another film?"
She would not.

Not even a film about her own life? "Oh dear, I'd be bored stiff!" she said.

According to Dr Roger Manvell's Encyclopaedia of Film, she is probably 74 years old. Whatever her age, she certainly did not look a day older.

she wore a stylish but simple brown pants suit with a matching peaked cap. She wore a modest amount of makeup, with or without which, the mildly mocking Dietrich eyes were as recognisable as ever.

"Why was she talking to the press?"

"It's him, Mr Smith persuaded me," she said indicating Cyril Smith, the promoter of her show which opens at Her Majesty's Theatre tonight.

Why had she avoided talking to the press before?

"I haven't given any interviews since 1972. In 1972 someone wrote a very misquoting article about me.

"Anything you can ever read in the papers you can never believe. You are newspapermen, you know how they make it up," she said with a look which suggested there was a hint of something more in her jest.

Questions about her films prompted no nostalgia.

"Let's get one thing straight, don't mix me up with my movies. On stage, in my show, I am myself but not in films.

"When I was young I played a tart in a red light district. I would not have chosen it for myself.
"I was supposed to be the Blue Angel but it was nothing to do with me. They said can you play a tart in a harbour town? I said yes, I suppose I can, I went to theatre school. When they said can you speak with a deep voice? I said sure."

Why did she still sing her old songs?

"I have to sing them otherwise they won't go home," she said with the Dietrich huskiness of her films coming through.

Why did she still tour?

"To be a performer you have got to be disciplined, you have got to know that you are not very important. Young people tell you what they think and if they do something wrong it is not their fault - it is because they had an unhappy childhood, they say. It was not like that for us.
"My sister died the day I opened in Birmingham on my last tour. No one knew and I could not say 'I can't perform today.'

"We stand out there with a high fever and perform. We have been taught not to allow little personal things to get in the way."

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this! It's very interesting that she mentioned her sister. Your site is wonderful - so much valuable information and rare photos!
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    Sauli Miettinen