With 1930’s MOROCCO an icon was born. The Hollywood debut of actress Marlene Dietrich is dazzling, scandalous, provocative and dressed to the nines in Art Deco splendor. The image of Dietrich in full tuxedoed regalia planting a forbidden kiss on a woman provided Hollywood with one its first gender transgressions and cemented her reputation as the ultimate sex symbol. Along with master director Josef von Sternberg, the German émigrés defined sexual empowerment for women in Hollywood’s Golden Era. No one could rile up censors or tantalize men and women alike as Dietrich and von Sternberg could.
In the seedy night clubs of Morocco’s kasbahs, enchanting chanteuse Amy Jolly entertains tourists, legionnaires, and the locals with her scandalous cabaret acts. After capturing the eye of one legionnaire in particular—a womanizing scoundrel played to white hot perfection by a young Gary Cooper—Jolly’s usual romantic detachment is jeopardized as she falls head over heels. Further complication ensues when a wealthy playboy (Adolphe Menjou) desires Jolly for himself.
While von Sternberg and Dietrich first collaborated on the Weimar-produced THE BLUE ANGEL in 1929, its release was delayed stateside so that MOROCCO and all its elaborate and meticulous exoticism could serve as the true Hollywood debut of the iconic actress. Queer, transgressive, and revolutionary in its employment of early sound technique, MOROCCO is a precode must-see. Featuring a performance by the Triple B with the Double D’s, Bianca Boom Boom!
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