Blonde Venus (1932)

 “My conscience wants to take a vacation.”

Blonde Venus–a Josef von Sternberg film stars the incredible Marlene Dietrich. When the film begins, it’s Germany in the late 20s. American tourist and chemist Ned Faraday meets and woos German maiden Helen. After a brief courtship, they marry, settle in America and have a child. Years later, Faraday becomes ill and needs expensive medical treatment, but the Faradays are poor. Helen throws aside her apron and springs to action–seeking employment in a nightclub. Of course, she’s an immediate sensation and catches the eye of wealthy playboy Nick Townsend (Cary Grant). Nick gladly coughs up the money to send Helen’s hubbie off for the cure, and as soon as Ned takes a ship for Europe, Helen and her little boy move into Nick’s swanky mansion…

This film is a must for Dietrich fans. Dietrich performs an incredible number “Hot Voodoo” and transforms from a gorilla costume to her slinky, naughty self. Dietrich seems to play those roles in which she creates her own moral code–always contrary to the moral code of those around her, and in Blonde Venus she certainly does what she considers the right thing. As Helen, she has three loves in her life–her husband (and he’s a bit of a bore), dashing lover Nick (and he’s got the money), but her true devotion is to her little boy. The ending is extremely corny, but after all, the film was made in the 1930s, so what can you expect? Josef von Sternberg made several films starring Dietrich, and fans of either the director or the star should seek out a copy of Blonde Venus. It’s well worth watching.

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Filed under Marlene Dietrich

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