Recently I've been really loving Marlene Dietrich. I've always liked her, but only in the last few months have I begun to appreciate how talented and absolutely fabulous she really was as a actress/singer/performer.
I've seen just over 10 of her films, and my favourites have to be the Dietrich/Von Sternberg films: Der Blaue Engel (1930), Morocco (1930), Dishonored (1931), Shanghai Express (1932), Blonde Venus (1932), The Scarlet Empress (1934), and The Devil is a Woman (1935). I thought I'd seen them all, but then I realised I'd got confused and two of the films I saw weren't actually Von Sternberg's! I've now seen all of them except The Scarlet Empress, and I have to say that I think they're all magnificent films. The first four are my favourites, and if pressed, I would say that Morocco is probably my favourite of all of them.
I recently watched Mata Hari (1931) and, although I'd heard that it was very similar to Dishonored, I was taken aback at how similar they really were. From what I gather, Paramount rushed into making Dishonored with Marlene starring when they found out that MGM was putting Greta Garbo in MH. Although the MGM film was overall much sleeker and more lavish in it's sets, costumes, and even dialogue, I much preferred Dishonored - it was more real and more engaging, in my opinion. Let me know which is your favourite, and why, if you've seen them both :)
Onto Marlene as a singer. I LOVE her voice. I could listen to it for days. She may not have been the greatest singer in the world, but her unique and beautiful tone is more compelling to listen to than some of the "greatest" West End/Broadway voices. A few years ago my singing teacher said to me that my "... voice is like Marlene Dietrich's.". Like Marlene, my singing voice, as well as being quite low, isn't clear and precise. It's not really husky like Marlene's, but it's... muffled. I think that's the best way to put it! Anyway, I think that's one of the most lovely compliments I've ever received. I was grinning for a long time after she said that ;D
If you've never listened to any of Marlene's songs, I suggest you listen to:
La Vie en Rose
Where Have All the Flowers Gone/ Ou Vont Les Fleurs/ Sag Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind
Ich Bin Von Kopf Fuss Auf Liebe Eingestellt
Johnny Wenn Du Geburtstag Hast
Dejéuner Du Matin
Meines Blonde Baby
There are hundreds of her songs to choose from, so you should really give her a chance to make you swoon with her gorgeous voice ;)