Dietrich Icon

Dietrich Icon

by Gerd Gemünden
     
 

ISBN-10: 082233819X

ISBN-13: 9780822338192

Pub. Date: 04/12/2007

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

Few movie stars have meant as many things to as many different audiences as the iconic Marlene Dietrich. The actress-chanteuse had a career of some seventy years: one that included not only classical Hollywood cinema and the concert hall but also silent film in Weimar Germany, theater, musical comedy, vaudeville, army camp shows, radio, recordings, television,

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Overview

Few movie stars have meant as many things to as many different audiences as the iconic Marlene Dietrich. The actress-chanteuse had a career of some seventy years: one that included not only classical Hollywood cinema and the concert hall but also silent film in Weimar Germany, theater, musical comedy, vaudeville, army camp shows, radio, recordings, television, and even the circus. Having renounced and left Nazi Germany, assumed American citizenship, and entertained American troops, Dietrich has long been a flashpoint in Germany’s struggles over its cultural heritage. She has also figured prominently in European and American film scholarship, in studies ranging from analyses of the directors with whom she worked to theories about the ideological and psychic functions of film. Dietrich Icon, which includes essays by established and emerging film scholars, is a unique examination of the many meanings of Dietrich.

Some of the essays in this collection revisit such familiar topics as Germany’s complex relationship with Dietrich, her ambiguous sexuality, her place in the lesbian archive, her star status, and her legendary legs, but with fresh critical perspective and an emphasis on historical background. Other essays establish new avenues for understanding Dietrich’s persona. Among these are a reading of Marlene Dietrich’s ABC—an eclectic autobiographical compendium containing Dietrich’s thoughts on such diverse subjects as “steak,” “Sternberg (Joseph von),” “Stravinsky,” and “stupidity”—and an argument that Dietrich manipulated her voice—through her accent, sexual innuendo, and singing—as much as her visual image in order to convey a cosmopolitan world-weariness. Still other essays consider the specter of aging that loomed over Dietrich’s career, as well as the many imitations of the Dietrich persona that have emerged since the star’s death in 1992.

Contributors. Nora M. Alter, Steven Bach, Elisabeth Bronfen, Erica Carter, Mary R. Desjardins, Joseph Garncarz, Gerd Gemünden, Mary Beth Haralovich, Amelie Hastie, Lutz Koepnick, Alice A. Kuzniar, Amy Lawrence, Judith Mayne, Patrice Petro, Eric Rentschler, Gaylyn Studlar, Werner Sudendorf, Mark Williams

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822338192
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
04/12/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Prelude

Introduction: Marlene Dietrich’s Appropriations / Mary R. Desjardins and Gerd Gemünden 3

Falling in Love Again / Steven Bach 25

I. The Icon

Dietrich’s Face / Lutz Koepnick 43

The Legs of Marlene Dietrich / Nora M. Alter 60

Marlene Dietrich: The Voice as Mask / Amy Lawrence 79

II. Establishing the Star Persona

Playing Garbo: How Marlene Dietrich Conquered Hollywood / Joseph Garncarz 103

Seductive Departures of Marlene Dietrich: Exile and Stardom in The Blue Angel / Elisabeth Bronfen 119

The Blue Angel in Multiple-Language Versions: The Inner Thighs of Miss Dietrich / Patrice Petro 141

Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus: Advertising Dietrich in Seven Markets / Mary Beth Haralovich 162

Marlene Dietrich: The Prodigal Daughter / Erica Carter 186

III. “Marlene Has Sex But No Gender”

Marlene Dietrich and the Erotics of Code-Bound Hollywood / Gaylyn Studlar 211

“It’s Not Often That I Want a Man”: Reading for a Queer Marlene / Alice A. Kuzniar 239

Get/Away: Structure and Desire in Rancho Notorious / Mark Williams 259

IV. (Auto-) Biography and the Archive

The Order of Knowledge and Experience: Marlene Dietrich’s ABC / Amelie Hastie 289

Dietrich Dearest: Family Memoir and the Fantasy of Origins / Mary R. Desjardins 310

An Icon between the Fronts: Vilsmaier’s Recast Marlene / Eric Rentschler 328

“Life Goes On without Me”: Marlene Dietrich, Old Age, and the Archive / Judith Mayne 347

“Is That Me?”: The Marlene Dietrich Collection Berlin / Werner Sudendorf 376

Bibliography 385

Contributors 401

Index 405

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