Marlene Dietrich was always one of my movie idols — her glamour and modernity in her films were utterly unique, even to the point where debating her acting seemed pointless.
(GIF via Paramount)
One of my all-time favorite films is the Maximilian Schell doc on the grande dame, Marlene (1987). In it, she refuses to be seen so offers only her gravelly voice-over as she and Schell combatively go over the details of her incredible life and career.
Now, Metrograph in NYC is planning a 19-film retrospective on Dietrich, which will include the doc as well as Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Lola, which was inspired by her.
The retrospective kicks off May 23 — I cahn't vait.
I know a lot of people would kill Hitler or do something meaningful if given the ability to time-travel, but I think I'd also want to take in a few shows. Dietrich and Baker in NYC at the same time, blocks apart!
My blog is dangerously close to 10 years old. As this realization has sunk in of late, I've thought long and hard about the variety of opportunities it has brought—and denied—me. Most interesting have been those times when I've been able to meet and sometimes interview gay people with experiences similar to and dissimilar from my own, whose stories have broadened my understanding of who I am.
Hunter claims he never really discussed being gay with beard Natalie Wood.
Meeting Tab Hunter (and his partner Allan Glaser) recently was a bit surreal. To think that someone who at one point was the #1 heartthrob in the country at the same time he was secretly gay was now casually sprawled out before me in a swanky hotel antechamber six decades later was mind-blowing. The fact that he was navigating what it meant to be gay before most of my readers were born, and before the word “gay” was even firmly entrenched, made it extra-special.
The movie, based on Tab's tell-some bio from a few years ago, is perhaps most noteworthy for containing the candid eyewitness account of a gay man who was a major player in the studio system in Hollywood at the end of the industry's Golden Age. We've all heard about who was and who wasn't gay, but how many of those gay actor and actresses—working in the '50s and before—have gone on the record to share a bit about the experience?
It's an oral history that can't be missed, even if—like some jackasses apparently asked when Tab's career was on the skids—you can't help asking, “What's a Tab Hunter?”
Tab is happy to tell you what a Tab Hunter is, even if he is still rather reluctant to dish the kind of dirt that we live for these days. He's not into dishing dirt; he prefers his prized horses, telling me, “I'd rather shovel the real stuff.”
Dietrich (L) and Riefenstahl (R) making an Anna May Wong sandwich in '28.
New book explores good and evil via the parallel existences of German powerhouses Marlene Dietrich and Leni Riefenstahl. Dietrich, of course, opposed and despised and worked against Hitler; Riefenstahl opportunistically embraced him. This sounds like a must-read.
Dickie Moore, one of Hollywood's most adorable child actors, one whose work began in the Silent Era, has died at 89, just two days shy of his 90th birthday.
With Spencer Tracy in 1932's Disorderly Conduct
Moore was noted for his cherubic appearance and heartfelt performances in some of the cinema's most important works, as well as opposite many of the greatest stars of all time, including John Barrymore, Spencer Tracy and—indelibly—Marlene Dietrich. He played Dietrich's son in Blonde Venus (1932), the Josef von Sternberg classic.
Moore's work with Dietrich was outstanding.
After kissing Shirley Temple when both had graduated, unsuccessfully, to young-adult roles, Moore eventually retired from acting, settling into a 40-plus-year career as the president of his own PR company.
In 1988, Moore met and married enduring silver-screen leading lady Jane Powell, to whom he remained married at the time of his death.