29 March 2013

Baubles, Bangles, and Bloopers

As your sacrificial lamb, I ordered and watched a DVD called Classic Movie Bloopers: Uncensored, which purported to feature Marlene Dietrich. Yes, she appears in the Manpower wedding scene with Edward G. Robinson. Yes, there's a blooper: the minister bungles his lines. Pardon my ignorance, but who is he? All I can say about the scene is that it's Robinson's best angle; however, you don't need the DVD to watch it because it (as well as the rest of the DVD footage, which consists of Warner Bros. bloopers compilations under the title Breakdowns) is readily available on YouTube. Skip to 6:11 and play:

Now that you've watched, please point me to the real Dietrich snafus! Where are the umpteen takes of Amy Jolly garbling the word "help" and Catherine the Great showing Quasimodo how to tug a rope? Where are Liza almost dropping Baby Corey like a flaming bag of feces and Countess Alexandra slipping in a tub and proving that even White Russians are a little red inside? Let's set our sights even higher. Where's Anna Sedlak refusing to look the slightest bit plebian? Will the real bloopers and lost footage please stand up?

16 March 2013

What The Dresser Saw

Marlene Dietrich and Gene Lovelle
Marlene’s dresser, Gene Lovelle (married to the star’s guitarist, Chic Lovelle) first joined the Dietrich troupe  during its 1966 Warsaw season .
“There was no question of payment. Marlene would be paying my fares and hotels, and I would be together with my husband,” Gene later recalled. “With the enthusiasm of ignorance, I convinced myself that after years as a dresser helping little girls in and out of ballet costumes, I could cope with an international star.” Marlene had dismissed the Polish dresser that had been supplied – “I don’t want a strange dresser round me,  they stare so” – and proceeded to show Gene what would be expected of her.
In 1985, she shared memories of life on the road:
·         New York, 1967: ... at rehearsals she was very demanding and kept everyone on their toes. A violinist was ticked off for wearing short socks ... ‘ they come to see my legs, not yours.

·         San Francisco, 1968: She liked her dressing room to be functional and sparsely furnished, but in San Francisco, it had been furnished and bedecked with beautiful antiques and rich brocades. She took one look and said to me: ‘Let’s move in next door,  honey,  who needs all this!’

·         Paris, 1973: Marlene excelled herself before one of the most exquisitely-dressed and sophisticated audiences we had ever seen. Among the celebrities ... who came backstage after the performance, was a very well-known female singer who, overcome and in tears at Marlene’s performance, embraced her. Marlene seemed equally moved. A moment later she turned to me and whispered,  Who was that,  honey?