PART TWO: AN UNDERSTANDING HUSBAND
Her American life has not been happy. Her first year -- Mrs Von Sternberg's suit for alienation of affections. The suit was understandable from an wholly American viewpoint -- it was completely a puzzle from Marlene's European one. She had a husband. He understood. Why should not Mr Von Sternberg's wife do the same? she reasoned. Incidentally, I have known both Marlene and Von Sternberg since she first came and I have always said both in print and in person that Marlene's devotion has always been as she now explains it.
A mental and, to her, common sense one. Then -- the fight on "Blonde Venus". Von Sternberg did not want to direct it. The studio wished to make the story saccharine. He bolted. Richard Wallace was assigned as director. She bolted. You now know why. Von Sternberg really went back and directed that picture for the sake of Marlene. He hated it then -- he hates it now. And no man can do a truly great picture with a story which he hates.
They continued for six weeks. Each new letter showed a new knowledge of her movements. Why had she hired detectives? Why had she taken her child to such and such a place the day before? Marlene Dietrich was close to a mad woman. Neither she nor her child even now stir in the open today without armed guards.
The bars on the windows of her home are inches thick.
During the thick of the daily threats, she received word from the department of immigration that the two German maids should return home. She wrote back that she was employing eleven Americans -- nine of whom were made necessary by the dangers of this country.
Must she send away the two Germans, the only ones whom she could trust with her child? -- The American government let them remain.
Then -- the Chevalier gossip. Marlene and Maurice are friends. But -- she laughs . "They forget that I am married and I am not divorcing my husband. He is coming for Christmas and then we shall be really happy and gay."
Her husband has had many clothes made for Marlene at her tailors in Paris. He sent these clothes back to Marlene with Maurice Chevalier! Again, perhaps only Europeans could fully understand friendships like these.
I do not believe Marlene will cry when she sails to sing in the theatres of Paris and Berlin.
"My child will be safe over there --" A throb in her voice when she says it. "Not no more troubles. We all have them. But less troubles and not so much silly talk.
"But I am happy to be able to give so many Americans work in protecting me from these strange customs. Some good has come --"
Her eyes twinkle.
I think they will twinkle when she waves goodbye to the Statue of Liberty which has not meant liberty at all for her.
Impossible, perhaps, for an American to vision happiness at waving goodbye to thestatue!
Impossible, perhaps also, for a European like Marlene, to vision happiness at waving it a second welcome!