Scarlet Empress

The Scarlet Empress

4.0 1
Director: Josef von Sternberg, Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Sam Jaffe

Cast: Josef von Sternberg, Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Sam Jaffe

     
 
Josef von Sternberg's 1934 masterpiece The Scarlet Empress, starring his muse Marlene Dietrich, has been issued on DVD through The Criterion Collection. The film has been transferred digitally, with both the restored images (presented in 1:33:1 full-screen format) and sound registering well, though at times the picture doesn't appear as sharp as one would

Overview

Josef von Sternberg's 1934 masterpiece The Scarlet Empress, starring his muse Marlene Dietrich, has been issued on DVD through The Criterion Collection. The film has been transferred digitally, with both the restored images (presented in 1:33:1 full-screen format) and sound registering well, though at times the picture doesn't appear as sharp as one would imagine. The DVD comes with English subtitles, and has its interactive menus set against beautiful images of Dietrich's legendary face. Also included is a stills archive gallery, with over 40 publicity and production photos, as well as images of several original lobby cards from the film's 1934 theatrical release. A 20-minute BBC documentary, The World of Josef von Sternberg, is included, in which the famed director demonstrates his lighting techniques and explains his relationship with his star, all the while letting his harsh and masterful personality shine through. This DVD also boasts a colorful booklet with entertaining and informative essays by historian Robin Wood and filmmaker Jack Smith. More historical information on the star herself would have been appreciated, especially for those unfamiliar with her history with Von Sternberg. Nonetheless, it is a pleasure to have a film such as this available on DVD; though the picture flopped in its initial release, it has gone on to become one of cinema's all-time classics.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
The Scarlet Empress is a largely fictional account of the life of Catherine the Great, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the best and most adult biopics of the 1930s. Directed in grand style by Josef von Sternberg, the film is a visual feast, though it is Marlene Dietrich's performance in the title role that has given the film its enduring appeal. A truer account of the life of Catherine the Great probably could not have been made in the U.S. in the 1930s. Nonetheless, The Scarlet Empress is unusually frank and occasionally suggestive. The film was the last of the great collaborations between von Sternberg and Dietrich. She would go on to make well-remembered films for other directors, while von Sternberg's later career would be less successful.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/08/2001
UPC:
0715515011822
Original Release:
1934
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital, monaural]
Time:
1:44:00
Sales rank:
19,659

Special Features

The World of Josef von Sternberg, a 1966 BBC documentary; a tribute Josef von Sternberg by devotee and underground filmmaker Jack Smith; liner notes by film historian Robin Wood; production stills archive

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Marlene Dietrich Sophia Frederica, later Catherine II of Russia
John Lodge Count Alexei
Sam Jaffe Grand Duke Peter
Louise Dresser Empress Elizabeth
Maria Sieber Sophia as a Child
C. Aubrey Smith Prince August
Ruthelma Stevens Countess Elizabeth
Olive Tell Princess Johanna
Gavin Gordon Gregory Orloff
Jane Darwell Mlle. Cardell
Harry Woods Doctor
Davison Clark Archimandrite Simeon Todorsky
John Davidson Marquis De La Chetardie
Gerald Fielding Officer
Eric Alden Lackeys
Erville Alderson Chancellor Alexei Bestuzhev
Richard Alexander Count Von Breummer
James Burke Guard
George Davis Jester
Anna Duncan Actor
Elinor Fair Actor
May Foster Actor
Julanne Johnston Actor
James Marcus Innkeeper
Eunice Moore Actor
Phillip G. Sleeman Count Lestocq
Dina Smirnova Actor
Jameson Thomas Lt. Ovtsyn
Edward Van Sloan Herr Wagner
Hans Heinrich Von Twardowski Ivan Shuvalov
Bruce Warren Actor
Marie Wells Marie Choglokov
Belle Johnstone Actor
Nadine Beresford Actor
Blanche Rose Aunt
Agnes Steele Actor
Patricia Patrick Actor

Technical Credits
Josef von Sternberg Director,Score Composer,Editor
Peter Ballbusch Art Director
Travis Banton Costumes/Costume Designer
Hans Dreier Art Director
Bert Glennon Cinematographer
Gordon Jennings Special Effects
Richard Kollorsz Art Director
Manuel Komroff Screenwriter

Scene Index

Side #1
0. Chapters
1. Opening titles [:09]
2. Hangmen [1:04]
3. The emissary [5:48]
4. Treasonous affections [4:58]
5. The celebrated journey [4:47]
6. Introductions and inspections [3:50]
7. Brood mare and royal half-wit [6:42]
8. Blessed be this bed [7:38]
9. Carefree spirit of youth [5:53]
10. Clandestine desire [7:19]
11. Rivals [6:39]
12. A very fortunate encounter [7:19]
13. Lessons in deceit [6:24]
14. Mourning and terror [:39]
15. Surveying the troops [6:08]
16. An enviable privilege [4:26]
17. Historic banquet [4:00]
18. Pray for her majesty [4:52]
19. Victory bells [5:00]
0. Index
1. Absolute control [4:28]
2. Martinet [2:14]
3. Marionettes [2:30]
4. The Dietrich persona [1:56]
5. Personal vision [4:35]
6. An abstract artist [2:28]
7. Artiface [1:56]

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Scarlet Empress 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago