130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

Discuss Blu-rays released by Indicator and the films on them.

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Glowingwabbit
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#76 Post by Glowingwabbit » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:05 pm

DeprongMori wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:50 pm
david hare wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:18 pm
Salvation Hunters is on the cards as a Blu Ray from FilmMuseum, including Janet Bergstrom's excellent video essay. the remsining silents are all Paramount as noted.
Would that be the first Blu-ray from Filmmuseum? Any idea when it is being released? I just ordered The Salvation Hunters and four others on DVD. I would much rather have had them on Blu.
Woah I didnt think they'd ever go blu. Was there an announcement somewhere? Those are gonna be expensive

KJones77
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#77 Post by KJones77 » Sat Aug 24, 2019 7:00 pm

Received this set today and WOW. Blew past my every expectation. Phenomenal packaging and, since I ordered direct, not a scratch or dent on it.

The book feels and looks quite hefty too, can't wait to dive into reading and rewatching the films.

On my first watch through of the films a year ago, I was a bit more lukewarm on Shanghai Express and The Scarlet Empress so I'm hopeful that they will click for me on a second watch.

ethel
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#78 Post by ethel » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:30 am

A really impressive package, with superb renderings of the films (only MOROCCO remains the decidedly second- or third-tier soft but acceptable master seen in Region A).

The special features are a treasure trove, with Tag Gallagher’s magnificent video essay and Nathalie Morris’ extremely engaging talk on Travis Banton’s costumes particular standouts.

More than one fevered collector of my acquaintance claims the unfamiliar production still of the San Bernardino railyard dressed as the Beijing terminus is alone worth the price of the box set.

Only 6000 copies of this for Region B. Sternberg devotees - do not procrastinate!

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david hare
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#79 Post by david hare » Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:20 pm

Tag's video essay on the Dishonored disc is a knockout. The synthesis between him and his subject makes him invisible. It is a mighty powerful piece of work.

The piece (20 minutes longer than Tag's) for the Venus disc on "Queering" by, or perhaps of Dietrich (who would know and who would care) is a new rock bottom in BritCrit post Mulveyan wankery. This nightmare begins with the presenter barking at her viewers "either ya gettit, or ya don't" To then proceed with unbelievably self evident objective textual realities which are "discovered" and extrapolated upon as though the presenter had just uncovered the eleventh stone tablet from cinematic Sinai.

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#80 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:03 pm

Is anyone else getting a disc error for Blonde Venus and The Devil Is A Woman?

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AidanKing
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#81 Post by AidanKing » Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:58 pm

Both discs are fine in my set so I think it must be an isolated error. The set is excellent by the way, with an extremely good range of extras. Despite David's criticism, I rather enjoyed the So Mayer piece (I've previously found her work on Sally Potter and feminist cinema to be very worthwhile too) and it was good to have some acknowledgement of the LGBTQ+ elements and appeal of the films, as opposed to the Criterion set apparently. The piece on Travis Banton by Nathalie Morris was welcome too: the recent obituary for Piero Tosi in 'The Guardian' commented that Banton was his favourite designer which, based on his costume designs for Visconti, comes as absolutely no surprise.

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david hare
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#82 Post by david hare » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:04 pm

I commend you to watch, if you can get it the Criterion disc of Scarlet Empress which has a terrific piece by Farran Smith Nehme which really goes into places I care about, but which have been overlooked in 80 years of published commentary. Presumably deemd unworthy by so many "scholars", whose disdain for the mechanics of commercial movie making blinds them to suhc trivia. Far more than the tedium of Brit gender stuides, Farran is actually interested in the studio system and the mechanics of Hollywood in relation to its greatest artists. So she actually researches the other creative forces behind both Jo and Parmount. Perhaps the most important among many is Jules Furthmann upon whom she clearly spent a ton of energy and research digging up remarkable facts and history about a compeltely overlooked and largley unknown figure.

If I have to endure "gender studies" in any form which is even remotely of interest to me it is the now frequent and superb talking heads to camera pieces between Molly Haskill and Farran (again) on their two BD Lubitsch exras titles.

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Paul Moran
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#83 Post by Paul Moran » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:00 am

Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:03 pm
Is anyone else getting a disc error for Blonde Venus and The Devil Is A Woman?
My set arrived yesterday, and I have not yet watched any of the films in full. However, I did a few disc checks this morning.

My Oppo 103D – which I have noticed is the “fussiest” of my BD players – reported “Unknown Disc” for Blonde Venus and The Devil Is a Woman, and “Wrong Disc” for Shanghai Express. It loaded the other three discs without any problems.

I then tried Blonde Venus, The Devil Is a Woman and Shanghai Express in my other BD players. My Oppo 203, Oppo 103 and Sony BDP-S360 had no problems. My Oppo 93 had no problems with Blonde Venus and Shanghai Express; it would not load The Devil Is a Woman, ejecting the disc without any on-screen explanation. I was too lazy to test the discs in my PC BD-ROM drive.

I am not returning my set (which I got from Hive for a short-lived bargain price of £26.65).

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#84 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:17 pm

Paul Moran wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:00 am
Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:03 pm
Is anyone else getting a disc error for Blonde Venus and The Devil Is A Woman?
My set arrived yesterday, and I have not yet watched any of the films in full. However, I did a few disc checks this morning.

My Oppo 103D – which I have noticed is the “fussiest” of my BD players – reported “Unknown Disc” for Blonde Venus and The Devil Is a Woman, and “Wrong Disc” for Shanghai Express. It loaded the other three discs without any problems.

I then tried Blonde Venus, The Devil Is a Woman and Shanghai Express in my other BD players. My Oppo 203, Oppo 103 and Sony BDP-S360 had no problems. My Oppo 93 had no problems with Blonde Venus and Shanghai Express; it would not load The Devil Is a Woman, ejecting the disc without any on-screen explanation. I was too lazy to test the discs in my PC BD-ROM drive.

I am not returning my set (which I got from Hive for a short-lived bargain price of £26.65).
You may want to contact Indicator nonetheless. My order email and number as I ordered direct was passed on to Anthony Nield who's been helping me out. Sadly, my two replacement discs were showing the same problems as yours but not for lack of effort from Indicator! But if it's a more widespread technical problem they might want to know.

Also regarding that So Mayer interview - which I watched when somehow my disc decided to work the one time! - I think what sadly might be the case is that Mayer despite that "either you get it or you don't" attitude is indeed imparting new information - to Millennials. Part of why I loved Indicator's book is the critical notices like Haskell's which show that this sort of visual analysis has been ongoing for decades. So to anyone to whom this is news they need not take Mayer's word for it and consult Haskell as well. (Or Mulvey - or Dyer whose work I've found useful or the Adrian Martin commentary on the same disc.) Or I could be wrong about Millennials as Sasha Velour (who's about the same age as me and I take it Mayer) did that Dietrich birthday Google doodle two years back. With all the other critical voices that Indicator included, I didn't find Mayer at all unwelcome.

tag gallagher
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#85 Post by tag gallagher » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:21 pm

I'm disappointed to see no commentary on von Sternberg's paintings, so beautifully displayed on the Morocco disc in this set. Von Sternberg himself identified more as a painter than a filmmaker.

The most demeaning reaction to these paintings would not be to hate them, but to ignore them totally -- which is what is happening.

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Paul Moran
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#86 Post by Paul Moran » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:26 am

Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:17 pm
Paul Moran wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:00 am
Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:03 pm
Is anyone else getting a disc error for Blonde Venus and The Devil Is A Woman?
My set arrived yesterday, and I have not yet watched any of the films in full. However, I did a few disc checks this morning.

My Oppo 103D – which I have noticed is the “fussiest” of my BD players – reported “Unknown Disc” for Blonde Venus and The Devil Is a Woman, and “Wrong Disc” for Shanghai Express. It loaded the other three discs without any problems.

I then tried Blonde Venus, The Devil Is a Woman and Shanghai Express in my other BD players. My Oppo 203, Oppo 103 and Sony BDP-S360 had no problems. My Oppo 93 had no problems with Blonde Venus and Shanghai Express; it would not load The Devil Is a Woman, ejecting the disc without any on-screen explanation. I was too lazy to test the discs in my PC BD-ROM drive.

I am not returning my set (which I got from Hive for a short-lived bargain price of £26.65).
You may want to contact Indicator nonetheless. My order email and number as I ordered direct was passed on to Anthony Nield who's been helping me out. Sadly, my two replacement discs were showing the same problems as yours but not for lack of effort from Indicator! But if it's a more widespread technical problem they might want to know.
I emailed the details to Indicator, and I've had a "thank you" from Anthony Nield. I watched the first 3 films on my Sony BDP-S360 last night: no problems. I'll watch the other three later today.

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T!me
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#87 Post by T!me » Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:06 am

This is a lovely box set and a great way of experiencing close to all collaborations of Dietrich and von Sternberg especially if you watch them for very first time like I did (provided, you can get your hands on The Blue Angel first).

All movies are a pleasure to watch with Morocco and Shanghai Express being the clear standouts to me.
Only The Scarlett Empress and its reputation left me confused since I really don’t understand why it’s held in such high regard.

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MichaelB
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#88 Post by MichaelB » Tue Dec 15, 2020 7:32 am

This new BFI box may be of interest.
T!me wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:06 am
Only The Scarlett Empress and its reputation left me confused since I really don’t understand why it’s held in such high regard.
Because it's the most dementedly Guy Maddinesque fever-dream of a film ever to emerge from a major Hollywood studio? I adored it, not least because it took me so completely by surprise as I was expecting a far more conventional costume drama.

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domino harvey
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#89 Post by domino harvey » Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:42 am

Conversely, comparing a film to Guy Maddin’s work seems like a pretty good explanation for something not being good

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MichaelB
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#90 Post by MichaelB » Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:51 am

domino harvey wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:42 am
Conversely, comparing a film to Guy Maddin’s work seems like a pretty good explanation for something not being good
When I saw you'd contributed to this thread, I predicted literally every word of what you'd write apart from the missing full stop at the end, which I can only assume was deliberately omitted to wrong-foot me.


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dustybooks
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#92 Post by dustybooks » Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:54 am

I don't care that much for Maddin but I do think The Scarlet Empress is Sternberg's best sound film and one of my favorite Hollywood films of all; seeing it the first time reminded me of when I first saw Citizen Kane. Its wildness and humor just throttled me. But when I showed it to my mom she was deeply confused, so it's clearly divisive!

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domino harvey
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#93 Post by domino harvey » Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:57 am

At the risk of damaging my brand, I should confess that I do like Scarlet Empress, though like all of the non-Shanghai Express colabs, I don’t think it even remotely reaches the orgasmic highs many see in these films.

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Gregory
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#94 Post by Gregory » Tue Dec 15, 2020 12:29 pm

Robin Wood's essay from the old Criterion DVD sums up why I love this film better than anything else I've read about it.
And the film really makes me wish Sternberg could have completed his ambitious adaptation of I, Claudius in the 30s.

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HinkyDinkyTruesmith
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#95 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Tue Dec 15, 2020 12:53 pm

I love all the Dietrich-von Sternberg films to pretty similar degrees (except for The Blue Angel). Morocco is my official favorite, and I think it helps that it veers towards a mysterious lightness of touch compared to the masterfully orchestrated highlights of the Dishonored, Shanghai Express, and Blonde Venus, or the tour-de-forces of Scarlet Empress and The Devil Is a Woman. I find Scarlet Empress especially ravishing though for its delightfully perverse sense of humor: Dietrich's constant state of being out of breath for the first half of the film, and after becoming a dominatrix only regaining it only upon conquering Russia is such a perfect piece of non-naturalistic acting/direction as well as twinning of sexual/political power. That's the sort of thing that helps it maintain its power even as my admiration for its plastic beauty and originality fluctuates, but I appreciate von Sternberg's hammy sense of humor: Dietrich's country maid in Dishonored is another favorite of mine (her take on Harpo Marx), and of course Edward Everett Horton in The Devil Is a Woman (which is also the most obviously tongue-in-cheek of all of them. I'll never forget seeing it at Film Forum and at one point the young woman next to me saying, audibly enough, "what a cunt.")

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T!me
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Re: 130-135 Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935

#96 Post by T!me » Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:27 am

MichaelB wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 7:32 am
T!me wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:06 am
Only The Scarlett Empress and its reputation left me confused since I really don’t understand why it’s held in such high regard.
Because it's the most dementedly Guy Maddinesque fever-dream of a film ever to emerge from a major Hollywood studio? I adored it, not least because it took me so completely by surprise as I was expecting a far more conventional costume drama.
I did notice these aspects too and found them rather amusing but I didn't think that they were the main factor many like the film so much. Looks like I thought wrong. The essay Gregory linked was a great read and makes some good points indeed. So, thank you and everyone else for explaining.

Lets see if I can get behind this beautiful mess of a movie in 10 years or so, but I highly doubt that Dietrichs goofy/ peculiar acting won't throw me off then too. :D

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