Want to the cut to the chase and see my Marlene Dietrich movie tie-in collection? Click here.
During one of my covens with fellow Marlene Dietrich collectors, I discovered a niche of memorabilia that had never before caught my attention--movie tie-in books. This 1936 photoplay edition of The Garden of Allah enraptured me, its endpapers illustrated with a photograph (or composite photo?) of Dietrich raising her arms like angel's wings while co-star Charles Boyer prays before her. Soon after spotting it, I was on the hunt for more examples of Marlene Dietrich movie tie-in books and for more information about this genre of books.
Initially, I searched Google, Ebay, Amazon, and AbeBooks for combinations of terms that included "marlene dietrich," "tie-in," and "photoplay," which greatly expanded my knowledge of existing Marlene Dietrich movie tie-in books and the range of prices for titles on the market. I also scoured the global library catalog WorldCat for the same terms and tested its more refined search functions and controlled vocabularies, such as limiting my search to books, adding "photoplay editions" or "novelizations" as a subject term in an advanced search, and sometimes taking a wild guess that searching a Dietrich film title or its non-English equivalent and setting a date range might retrieve some fruitful results. In fact, this last search technique revealed the existence of a Danish movie tie-in publication for Blonde Venus, which I hope to find one day on the market. While searching for Marlene Dietrich-related movie tie-ins, I realized that the most common reason why I initially missed certain books was because catalogers or booksellers did not include Dietrich's name anywhere in their records or listings; therefore, I knew I would have to investigate the research of others to identity even more books if I didn't want to rely solely on my hunches.
The first printed resource I checked happened to be one of the first--if not the first--resources on movie tie-in books, Emil Petaja's 1975 book, Photoplay Edition, the title of which is synonymous for "movie tie-in book." Petaja (1975) stated that photoplay editions likely began in 1913, surmising that they promoted serial films (p. 6). According to Petaja (1975), the production of photoplay editions fell during the advent of talkies and semi-talkies, perhaps due to the depression, the ability of movies to now “[speak] for themselves,” or the competition books had with radio (p. 13-14), but I knew these books had not become extinct after seeing that extraordinary example of The Garden of Allah. Petaja (1975) observed a lack of novelizations (p. 14); however, Dietrich’s second American film, Dishonored, was novelized by Frank Vreeland for Grosset & Dunlap in 1931. As a photoplay edition bibliography, Petaja's book gave me the impression that its author was not much a fan of Dietrich, given its dearth of Dietrich-related titles. Nevertheless, Petaja (1975) gave me some good leads by noting that Grosset & Dunlap and A.L. Burt were the two top American publishers of photoplay editions (p. 2).
Of course, I also came across useful Internet resources about movie tie-in books in general, such as an essay on the 11 East 14th Street blog entitled "See the Movie, Then Read the Book: Photoplay Editions." The author of this piece, Gene Zonarich, covered the etymology of the term "photoplay edition," explained the appeal and appraisal of this genre of books, shared some examples from his own collection, and referenced a brief but useful AbeBooks page on photoplay editions. None of his examples pertained to Miss Dietrich, but I found all his information invaluable, particularly the insight that booksellers are willing to email photographs of books upon request and that dust jacket illustrations may merely resemble a movie star.
When I read an article by Peter Jewell called "Collectors' Tales: A Personal Overview of Film Fiction at Bill Douglas Centre" (note that you'll probably need to visit a library to access this), I gleaned some useful information about the movie tie-in book genre in the United Kingdom. Jewell (2008) stated that publishers such as Readers Library and World Film Publications copied the American tie-in (p. 150), which gave me more publisher names to add to my search of relevant Dietrich tie-in books. Furthermore, I learned of a jaw-dropping movie memorabilia collection at the University of Exeter's Bill Douglas Cinema Museum. This collection includes movie tie-in books, which I found easier to search in the University of Exeter Library Catalogue by using the keyword terms "douglas" and "jewell" with "photoplay," "tie-in," the British "book of the film," or a Marlene Dietrich film title.
Returning to print resources, I struck gold when I started digging through the pages of Arnie Davis' Photoplay Editions and Other Movie Tie-in Books: The Golden Years 1912-1969, which listed many Dietrich-related movie tie-ins and delineated the types of movie tie-in books that were published. Davis (2002) categorized movie tie-ins as reprints of already-published books, screenplay novelizations or adaptations, or screenplays themselves and pointed out that books can tie into movies in at least one of the following ways: with photo still illustrations, artwork depicting cast members or scenes, or written mention of the film, production company, or stars (p. 1). I highly recommend this book, and I would be curious to know how it compares to another book that I unfortunately could not acquire, Rick Miller's Photoplay Editions: A Collector's Guide.
I did, however, obtain a book by Moe Wadle called The Movie Tie-In Book, which focused only on paperback movie tie-ins and adhered to a stricter definition of movie tie-ins than Davis' book. Wadle's (1994) criteria for a movie tie-in book were that it "must give some statement referring to the film and must name or depict at least one person associated with the movie" (p. A-2). I was not concerned with whether a book was a paperback, but I did find Wadle's restrictions appealing. According to the guidelines, my Triangle Books copy of Destry Rides Again would not be a movie tie-in book because the dust jacket merely mentions Dietrich's film and depicts no one associated with that particular film. As a Dietrich fan and collector, I would have no problem accepting this because I find it rather dissatisfying that no image of Dietrich appears on this dust jacket or anywhere else in the book. Complications arose when I bought books that fit Wadle's criteria but lacked Dietrich's image, such as Just a Gigolo, and I decided to include these books as well as books that merely mentioned Dietrich with no depictions of anyone involved in the associated films for the sake of completeness.
Collecting Marlene Dietrich movie tie-in books has become a year-long obsession of mine, and I predict it will continue as I come across specimens published long after Dietrich's film releases (such as my copy of The Woman and the Puppet) and/or in many non-Anglophone countries. One potentially tricky aspect of these books is that they may also be reissues of previous novels that have subsequently adopted the film adaptation's title (Larson, 1995, p. 3). This was the case with James Hilton's Without Armour, which was reissued as Knight Without Armor (or Knight Without Armour in the U.K.) in conjunction with Dietrich's 1937 film. I have even found an example of a tie-in that had nothing to do with Dietrich aside from its dust jacket--the 1931 Archer Press Corp. edition of J.W. McConaughy's Madame X. Despite featuring a lounging Dietrich from her Paramount film Dishonored on its jacket, perhaps the only connection between this novel and Dietrich's film is the "X" in the novel's title and in Dietrich's character's spy name--X-27.
All the aforementioned factors have made the search of Marlene Dietrich movie tie-ins a fun mission for me, and I present below an illustrated bibliography of the books in my collection, arranged alphabetically by author, with publication information, a form description (e.g., novel, film script), and a physical description. I recommend that you consult this Alibris glossary for definitions of any jargon that I may use. Furthermore, I urge you to share images or information about any Marlene Dietrich movie tie-in books from your collection in the comments section because my collection is far from complete, and my books may differ from yours. Also, please correct my errors, especially in non-English languages! I have tried to be as descriptive as I could because--with all the printings and editions out there--it can be tricky to ensure that the book you have found online is indeed a Marlene Dietrich tie-in, and I want to help lead you to them.
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING: I imagine that some of you may wish to know what I paid or what I would recommend that you pay for Dietrich movie tie-in books. I prefer not to discuss such matters in this public post because I am no expert on appraising movie tie-in books and--as you will notice from my scans--my books are often not in the most pristine condition; however, I will address such questions to the best of my knowledge and experience via the blog email. Davis' book gives some guidance about the pricing of movie tie-in books, but I have found that many of the books that I could obtain cost more than these figures.
MY MARLENE DIETRICH MOVIE TIE-IN BOOK COLLECTION
©1944). Kismet. Chicago: Consolidated Book Publishers. Adaptation of screenplay by John Meehan. 48 unnumbered pages, almost all of which are illustrated with film stills. Stapled pamphlet binding. Front cover illustrated with a still of Dietrich and Ronald Colman. "A photoplay version"--Front cover.
Beach, Rex. (©1905). The spoilers. New York: Grosset & Dunlap Publishers. Novel. 309 numbered pages. Blue cloth over boards, cover stamped in blind and spine lettered in gilt. Top edge dark blue. Dust jacket printed in gold, blue, and red and illustrated with a film still of Dietrich, John Wayne, and Randolph Scott. "Starring Marlene Dietrich, John Wayne, Randolph Scott"--Dust jacket. "A Universal production"--Dust jacket. "Madison Square"--Front dust jacket flap. "By arrangement with Harper & Brothers"--Title page.
©1930). Ce n'est que votre main, Madame. Collection hebdomadaire cinéma-bibliothèque ; no. 304. Paris: Editions Jules Tallandier. French-language novelization of Dietrich's film Ich küsse Ihre Hand, Madame (I Kiss Your Hand, Madame). 96 numbered pages, 24 numbered pages of plates of captioned film stills, 1 unnumbered page of publisher's advertisements at end. Wrappers printed in red and blue and illustrated with colorized film still of Dietrich and Harry Liedtke. My copy is imperfect: plates 8-9 and 14-15 are duplicated.
©1948 [February 1958 printing date]). The witness for the prosecution (New Dell edition, 1st printing). New York: Dell Publishing Co., Inc. Novel. 192 numbered pages. Blue wrappers with an illustration of a woman who resembles Marlene Dietrich on the front and back covers. All edges teal. "D218"--Front cover and spine. "A Dell mystery"--Title page. "The Witness for the Prosecution, from which the smash Broadway hit and the big United Artists film (starring Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, and Charles Laughton) were adapted, is a story of courtroom suspense with a dazzling double climax"--Page .
©1946 [May 1947 printing date]). Golden earrings (Forum Books edition, 1st printing). Cleveland: The World Publishing Company. Novel. 239 numbered pages. Gray cloth over boards, lettered and decorated in burgundy. Top edge burgundy. Dust jacket printed in yellow, black, and red with a photomontage of film stills chiefly depicting Dietrich and Ray Milland. "A Forum motion picture edition"--Dust jacket. "F-181"--Dust jacket. "The novel from which the Paramount film was made starring Ray Milland and Marlene Dietrich"--Front dust jacket flap.
©1931). Le navire des hommes perdus. Collection hebdomadaire cinéma-bibliothèque ; no. 397. Paris: Editions Jules Tallandier. French-language novelization of Dietrich's film Das Schiff der verlorenen Menschen (The Ship of Lost Men). 94 numbered pages, 16 numbered pages of plates of captioned film stills, 1 unnumbered page of publisher's advertisements at end. Wrappers printed in red and blue and illustrated with colorized film still of Dietrich, Robin Irvine, and other cast members.
Frank, Paul. (©1924). Das Liebesschiff. Die gelben Ullstein-Bücher ; 57. Berlin: Verlag Ullstein. 250 numbered pages, 1 unnumbered page, 4 unnumbered pages of publisher's advertisements, 1 unnumbered page colophon. Novel. Yellow wrappers printed in blue or green; front cover illustrated with still depicting Dietrich and Fritz Kortner in Die Frau, nach der man sich sehnt (The Woman Men Yearn For a.k.a. Three Loves). "Umschlagbild: Marlene Dietrich und Fritz Kortner. Photo: Terra"--Title page verso. "Copyright 1924 by Internationaler Verlag Renaissance, Vienna"--Title page verso. The novel possibly bears no relation to any Dietrich film?
Hichens, Robert. (1937). The garden of Allah (44th edition). London: Methuen & Co., Ltd. Novel. 520 numbered pages. Orange cloth over boards, with spine lettered in black. Dust jacket illustrated with a film still of Dietrich. "Marlene Dietrich in a Selznick International Production"--Dust jacket.
Hichens, Robert. (©1907). The garden of Allah. New York: Grosset & Dunlap Publishers. Novel. 490 numbered pages. Red cloth over boards, lettered and decorated in black. Endpapers illustrated with film still of Dietrich and Charles Boyer. Dust jacket printed in red and blue with an illustration of Dietrich and Boyer. "Marlene Dietrich and Charles Boyer in the David O. Selznick Production released thru United Artists"--Dust jacket.
©1937). Le chevalier sans armure (10e édition). Paris: Gallimard. French translation of English-language novel. 257 numbered pages, 1 unnumbered leaf with printing statement. Wrappers printed in blue and black, with a film still of Dietrich from Knight Without Armour on the front cover. Deckled fore edge and top edge. Front cover and title page printed with "nrf" logo.
Hilton, James. (1935 [December 1936 printing date]). Knight without armor (4th printing). New York: Grosset & Dunlap. Novel. 309 numbered pages. Blue boards lettered and decorated in gilt and blind. Dust jacket printed in silver, red, blue, yellow,and pink with an illustration of Dietrich and Robert Donat. "An Alexander Korda production starring Marlene Dietrich and Robert Donat"--Dust jacket. "Photoplay title of Without Armor"--Title page.
©1978 [printed 1979]). Just a gigolo. London: Corgi Books. ISBN: 0552110051. Novelization of film script. 155 numbered pages. Brown wrappers illustrated with film still of David Bowie. "Based on the startling new movie starring David Bowie and Marlene Dietrich"--Front cover.
©1971). El ángel azul (Primera edición). El ave fénix ; 19. Barcelona: Plaza & Janes, S.A., Editores. ISBN: 84-01-42119-5. Spanish translation by Dr. Manuel R. Blancafort Paris of Professor Unrat. 249 numbered pages, 6 unnumbered pages. Cover design by Jordi Sánchez with a colorized film still of Dietrich. "Esta obra ha sido llevada a la pantalla en dos versiones, la primera de las cuales tuvo como protagonistas a Marlene Dietrich y a Emil Jannings"--Back cover.
©1931). Madame X. Triangle monthly books. New York: The Archer Press Corporation. Novel adapted from the play of the same name by Alexandre Bisson. 247 numbered pages. Dark red boards lettered in gilt. Dust jacket depicts a color illustration of Dietrich from the film Dishonored. "The girl on the cover, Marlene Dietrich, Paramount Pictures"--Front dust jacket flap. Note that the novel itself is not related to Dietrich's film Dishonored.
©Copyright 1930 by Paramount Publix Corporation. ©Copyright 1969 by Lorrimer Publishing Limited published in Japan by arrangement with Lorrimer Publishing Limited through Japan UNI Agency, Inc."--Colophon.
©1930). La femme que l'on désire. Cinéma-bibliothèque ; 341 [?]. Paris: Editions Jules Tallandier. French-language novelization of Dietrich's film Die Frau, nach der man sich sehnt (The Woman Men Yearn For a.k.a. Three Loves). 48 numbered pages, 8 numbered pages of plates of captioned film stills, 1 unnumbered page of publisher's advertisements at end. Wrappers printed in red and illustrated with colorized film still of Dietrich and Fritz Kortner.
©1948 [in Roman numerals]). No highway. New York: Dell Publishing Company, Inc. Novel. 287 numbered pages, 1 unnumbered page with note to reader by author. Wrappers with a colorized [?] film still of James Stewart and Dietrich on the front cover and a map of their characters' flight on the back cover. All edges teal. "Dell book 516"--Front cover. "A 20th Century Fox picture starring James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich"--Front cover.
Verne, Jules. (©1956). Around the world in 80 days. New York: Avon Publications, Inc. Novel. 192 numbered pages. Gold wrappers illustrated with cropped film stills of the actors' faces in circular blue borders and a film still of Dietrich in a white border. "The complete novel--with film photos from the great Michael Todd production''--Front cover. "An Avon red & gold edition, complete and unabridged"--Front cover. "T-148"--Front cover and spine. Cast list on page . Illustration on title page and 20 captioned illustrations throughout the book.
©1968). The blue angel (2nd printing). Classic film scripts. New York: Simon and Schuster. English-language translation of the German continuity script. 111 numbered pages. Wrappers with front color illustrated with a film still of Dietrich and Rosa Valetti from The Blue Angel. Film stills on the frontispiece (4 pages) and throughout the book (20 pages), courtesy of L'Avant Scène du Cinéma and the British Film Institute. Film stills identical to those in 3rd printing.
©1931). Dishonored. New York: Grosset & Dunlap Publishers. Novelization of film. 265 numbered pages, 8 unnumbered leaves of plates illustrated with captioned film stills (including frontispiece), 3 unnumbered pages of publisher's advertisements at end. Red cloth over boards, lettered in black. Top edge dark blue. Dust jacket printed in black and pink, with film still of Dietrich. "Illustrated with scenes from the Paramount picture starring Victor McLaglen, Marlene Dietrich"--Dust jacket. Reverse side of dust jacket printed with a list of fiction titles available from the publisher.
©1982). Der blaue Engel. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. ISBN: 0-15-517350-2. Transcribed German-language film script. viii, 214 numbered pages. Silver wrappers. Front cover illustrated with a high-contrast film still of Dietrich and Rosa Valetti from Der blaue Engel. 14 unnumbered film stills, courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art/Film Stills Archives, throughout book.
©1931). Trois nuits d'amour. Collection hebdomadaire cinéma-bibliothèque ; no. 409 [?]. Paris: Editions Jules Tallandier. French-language novelization of Dietrich's film Gefahren der Brautzeit (Dangers of the Engagement). 94 numbered pages, 16 numbered pages of plates of captioned film stills, 1 unnumbered page of publisher's advertisements at end. Wrappers printed in red and blue and illustrated with colorized film still of Lotte Loring and Willi Forst. Confusingly, the books title is the French title of another Dietrich film in which Forst co-starred, Café Elektric.
Davis, Arnie. (2002). Photoplay editions and other movie tie-in books: The golden years 1912-1969. East Waterboro, Maine: Mainely Books.
Jewell, Peter. (2008). Collectors' tales: A personal overview of film fiction at Bill Douglas Centre, Film History, 20 (2), 149-163.
Larson, Randall D. (1995). Films into books: An analytical bibliography of film novelizations, movie, and TV tie-ins. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, Inc.
Petaja, Emil. (1975). Photoplay edition. San Francisco, Calif.: SJSU Publishers.
Wadle, Moe. (1994). The movie tie-in book: A collector's guide to paperback movie editions. Coralville, Iowa: Nostalgia Publishers.