Dishonored

Monday, March 19th, 2012 | Film

In Joseph Von Sternberg’s Dishonored, Marlene Dietrich plays a prostitute whose patriotism and sexual allure are so admired by the chief of the Austrian secret police that he asks her to put those qualities to work for her country. She shows up for her job interview in a frilly revealing dress and wrapped in a coat with a high feathered collar, a veil of black lace. After successfully uncovering the traitorous plans of her first conquest, and nabbing a second guy working for the Russian secret police, she’s sentenced to death(?!!) when the second guy—with whom she’s incidentally fallen in love, and from whom she’s sent in to procure some last minute espionage details before he’s put to death—escapes. She asks for her civilian clothes, the frilly dress and the coat with the high feathered collar, and is led to the firing squad. She smiles at the head of the firing squad, the guy who escorted her to her job interview about 45 minutes earlier, and he starts yelling, “I won’t! I won’t kill a woman! You call this patriotism, I call it murder!” As he’s dragged away, Marlene takes the opportunity, in a gorgeous blurry close-up, to reapply her lipstick and straighten her stocking. And then she’s shot! Shot dead! No lingering, she just drops to the snow, The End, lipstick perfect.

I love this movie!

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