Sternberg & Dietrich

Tuesday 26 August – Saturday 29 November 2014

For Josef von Sternberg (born Jonas Sternberg in Vienna and raised Joe Stern in New York) light and shade were the most vital assets of film. He built his career, and Marlene Dietrich’s too, on what could be achieved with the perfect combination of lenses and lighting.

In the creation of Von Sternberg’s seven films with Dietrich, from The Blue Angel (1930) to The Devil is a Woman (1935), Marlene grew into an icon of the 20th century.


Saturday, September 6th

  • 11:30am: The Blue Angel

Sunday, September 7th

  • 11:30am: The Blue Angel

Saturday, September 20th

  • 11:30am: Morocco

Sunday, September 21st

  • 11:30am: Morocco

Saturday, September 27th

  • 11:30am: Dishonored

Sunday, September 28th

  • 11:30am: Dishonored

Saturday, October 4th

  • 11:30am: Shanghai Express

Sunday, October 5th

  • 11:30am: Shanghai Express

Saturday, October 18th

  • 11:30am: Blonde Venus

Sunday, October 19th

  • 11:30am: Blonde Venus

Saturday, November 15th

  • 11:30am: The Scarlet Empress

Sunday, November 16th

  • 11:30am: The Scarlet Empress

Saturday, November 22nd

  • 11:30am: The Devil is a Woman

Sunday, November 23rd

  • 11:30am: The Devil is a Woman


  • Sat 6 Sep, 11:30am
  • Sun 7 Sep, 11:30am

The Blue Angel (1930)

directed by Josef von Sternberg starring Marlene Dietrich

Dietrich and von Sternberg rocketed to international superstardom with this this lacerating depiction of sadomasochistic love — the crowning achievement of Weimar cinema! Deitrich plays nightclub singer Lola-Lola, who leads a curious, sexually-repressed schoolteacher (the extraordinary German expressionist actor Emil Jannings) down a road to ruin.

Seductively crooning her signature song, “Falling in Love Again,” Dietrich’s unrestrained sexuality was a revelation to turn-of-the-decade moviegoers.

  • Sat 20 Sep, 11:30am
  • Sun 21 Sep, 11:30am

Morocco (1930)

directed by Josef von Sternberg starring Marlene Dietrich

In her first American film, Dietrich established her iconic look as Amy Jolly, the tuxedo-clad cabaret singer with a checkered past, who smooches a woman during a performance. Aboard a ship bound for Morocco, she develops a yen for a restless legionnaire (a very comely Gary Cooper). Von Sternberg conjures a heady exoticism from the desert locale, and caps it off with an unforgettable final shot.

  • Sat 27 Sep, 11:30am
  • Sun 28 Sep, 11:30am

Dishonored (1931)

directed by Josef von Sternberg starring Marlene Dietrich

Dietrich shows dazzling range—and a dazzling array of costume changes—as Agent X-27, a Mata Hari-esque spy who mixes business and pleasure during World War I. Highlighted by a feverish masked ball sequence, Dishonored—said to be a favorite of Godard’s—“takes high camp as a springboard to the dream-delirium that makes Sternberg one of the screen’s Surrealist poets of l’amour fou” (Raymond Durgnat).

  • Sat 4 Oct, 11:30am
  • Sun 5 Oct, 11:30am

Shanghai Express (1932)

directed by Josef von Sternberg starring Marlene Dietrich

It’s romance and intrigue aboard the titular locomotive, carrying a shady cargo-load of societal castoffs—including notorious man-eater Shanghai Lily (Dietrich). Von Sternberg explores the emotional capacities of light and shadow to transcendent effect; the hyper-stylized look and feel somehow give way to haunting, dreamlike moments of pure feeling.

  • Sat 18 Oct, 11:30am
  • Sun 19 Oct, 11:30am

Blonde Venus (1932)

directed by Josef von Sternberg starring Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, and Herbert Marshall

While her impoverished and sickly husband can’t even sell his body to medical science for radium treatment, Marlene Dietrich has to beat back those who’d gladly purchase hers. Hitting the streets to pay for her hubby’s medicine, Dietrich climbs up and down the socioeconomic ladder, including a lucrative affair with Cary Grant. Featuring Dietrich’s (in)famous gorilla-suited number “Hot Voodoo”!

  • Sat 15 Nov, 11:30am
  • Sun 16 Nov, 11:30am

The Scarlet Empress (1934)

directed by Josef von Sternberg starring Marlene Dietrich

Dietrich evolves from the blushing bride of the half-wit Grand Duke to S&M-freak empress Catherine the Great, in von Sternberg’s deranged, over-the-top vision of 18th-century Russia, replete with impossibly ornate architectural details—an expressionist riot of gargoyles, flickering candles, and looming shadows.

  • Sat 22 Nov, 11:30am
  • Sun 23 Nov, 11:30am

The Devil is a Woman (1935)

directed by Josef von Sternberg starring Marlene Dietrich

Dietrich and von Sternberg headed to Spain for their final collaboration, in which she plays Concha Perez, a beautiful seductress whose fickle ways drive rival suitors to extremes. Sternberg’s coldly formalist approach lends the melodramatic proceedings a cruel, ironic edge as passions and tempers boil over in an abstract world of glittering surfaces.

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