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December 26, 2019

‘Blonde Venus’: Stunning Beauty of Marlene Dietrich in the 1930s

After her breakthrough role as a cabaret singer in The Blue Angel (1930), with encouragement and promotion from Josef von Sternberg, who took credit for having “discovered” the actress, Marlene Dietrich moved to Hollywood under contract to Paramount Pictures. From between 1930 and 1950, she and von Sternberg united to make six films for the studio: Morocco (1930), Dishonored (1931), Shanghai Express (1932), Blonde Venus (1932), The Scarlet Empress (1934), and The Devil is a Woman (1935), with the first earned Dietrich her only Academy Award nomination. The actress later remarked that she was at her most beautiful in her last film with von Sternberg in 1935.

By then Dietrich’s public popularity had already declined. Even though she was one of the best-paid film stars of the time, her films did not perform as well as expected at the box office, which led to her being proclaimed “box office poison” in 1938. It should be noted that during this time Dietrich had refused the offers to return to Germany as a foremost film star, instead she decided to apply for U.S. citizenship in 1937. She returned to the big screen in the 1939 comedy Destry Rides Again with James Stewart as a cowboy saloon girl, a type of character that was different from her usual roles. This decision was encouraged by Josef von Sternberg and successfully revived her career.

Let’s take a look back at the strikingly stunning actress and singer during the 1930s:

Marlene Dietrich in the film 'The Blue Angel,' 1930. Photo by Popperfoto.

Marlene Dietrich making her Hollywood film debut as the tuxedo clad Amy Jolly in the film 'Morocco,' 1930. Photo by Eugene Robert Richee.

Marlene Dietrich at the time of her first Hollywood film, 'Morocco', 1930. Photo by Eugene Robert Richee.

Marlene Dietrich, 1930. Photo by Eugene Robert Richee.

Marlene Dietrich, 1931. Photo by E. O. Hoppe.
Marlene Dietrich in a scene from the film 'Dishonored,' 1931. Photo by Paramount.

Marlene Dietrich phoning her daughter in Berlin from Hollywood, 1931. Photo by Erich Salomon.

Marlene Dietrich kneeling by a lake smoking a cigarette in a double-breasted suit, 1932. Photo via John Kobal Foundation.

Marlene Dietrich casually dressed in shirt and loosened tie, 1932. Photo by Eugene Robert Richee.

Marlene Dietrich, 1932. Photo by Eugene Robert Richee.

Close-up portrait of Marlene Dietrich, 1932. Photo by Eugene Robert Richee.

Marlene Dietrich, in tuxedo, smartly-tailored coat and slouch hat, at the Biltmore Theatre in Los Angeles for the premiere of 'Sign of the Cross,' 1932. Photo by Bettmann.

Marlene Dietrich in the film 'Shanghai Express,' 1932. Photo by Universal.

Marlene Dietrich in a scene from the film 'Blonde Venus,' 1932. Photo by ullstein bild.

Marlene Dietrich smoking, 1933. Photo by Eugene Robert Richee.

Marlene Dietrich in Hollywood, 1933. Photo by Hulton Archive.

Marlene Dietrich communing with a tree in a scene from the film 'Song of Songs,' 1933. Photo by Paramount Pictures.

Marlene Dietrich and husband Rudolf Sieber at the arrival of the transatlantic train in Paris, May 1933. Photo by Gamma-Keystone.

Marlene Dietrich as Catherine II of Russia in 'The Scarlet Empress,' 1934. Photo by George Rinhart.

Marlene Dietrich at her home in Beverly Hills, 1935. Photo by ullstein bild.

Fashion photo of Marlene Dietrich, 1935. Photo by ullstein bild.

Marlene Dietrich out for a stroll in street clothes, 1935. Photo via John Kobal Foundation.

Marlene Dietrich photographed during a break while filming 'Desire,' 1936. Photo by ullstein bild.

Marlene Dietrich in the film 'Desire,' 1936. Photo by ullstein bild.

Marlene Dietrich posing with a car in a promotional still for the film 'Desire,' 1936. Photo by ullstein bild.

Marlene Dietrich wearing a white fluffy feather hat in a scene from the film 'Desire,' 1936. Photo by Paramount Pictures.

Marlene Dietrich leaving Victoria Station in car, London, July 1936. Photo by Keystone-France.

Marlene Dietrich in a scene from the film 'Angel,' 1937. Photo by Donaldson Collection.

Marlene Dietrich as Alexandra in the film 'Knight Without Armour,' 1937. Photo by ullstein bild.

Marlene Dietrich and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. at their table attended the Screen Actor's Guild party at the Cocoanut Grove, Los Angeles, April 1938. Photo by Bettmann.

Marlene Dietrich salutes from the deck of a boat in Paris, May 1938. Photo by AFP.

Marlene Dietrich and her friend German writer Erich Maria Remarque sit in the lobby of a hotel in Hollywood, June 1938. Photo by AFP.

Portrait of Marlene Dietrch, 1939. Photo by Hulton Archive.

Marlene Dietrich arriving in New York City aboard the S.S. Normandie, June 1939. Photo by NY Daily News.

Marlene Dietrich sips a cup of tea in a scene from the film 'Destry Rides Again,' 1939. Photo via John Kobal Foundation.




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