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New Left Review I/36, March-April 1966


Lee Russell

Josef Von Sternberg

Josef Von Sternberg remains best known as the director of a sequence of films with Marlene Dietrich in the thirties, starting with The Blue Angel in Germany and then continuing in Hollywood. Usually these are thought of as ‘glamour’ films, successful because they took people’s minds off the miseries of the depression era, but today dated, bizarre and basically contentless and empty. Josef Von Sternberg is remembered as an eccentric and monomaniac director, creator of a shopgirl’s dream-world, unable to ride with the times into the post-war forties. Still he retains a certain legendary splendour, an aura of the days when Hollywood was really Hollywood.

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