Marlene Dietrich Quotes and Reflections

“Glamour is what I sell, it’s my stock in trade.”

I first learned the backstory on how Marlene Dietrich was discovered via the book Fun in a Chinese Laundry, Josef von Sternberg’s autobiographical account of his life in Hollywood in the first half of the last century. The title has nothing to do with Chinese laundries and everything to do with the life of an interesting director. The title is essentially Clickbait, something a forward thinking Hollywood director might think of since who wants to read a memoir about someone who they really hadn’t known all that well.

The film that set Dietrich’s career on fire was von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel, of which the director produced both German and English versions. Her role as Lola-Lola garnered for her a contract with Paramount. As a result she became one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood.

I discovered von Sternberg through a reference by Orson Welles who had the upmost respect for the Austrian-born director who was also an artist with the camera. Welles himself gave Marlene Dietrich some limelight in his distinctively dark Touch of Evil, which critics have ranked #2 in his directorial oeuvre, a notch behind his epic Citizen Kane.

Marlene Dietrich was famous for her husky, sultry voice and seductive good looks. There was, however, more to her than meets the eyes. Though not a central character in Touch of Evil, she was definitely a memorable one. All her scenes packed a punch. Here’s a snippet from her final dialogue with Orson Wells:

Quinlan: Come on, read my future for me.
Tanya: You haven’t got any.
Quinlan: Hmm? What do you mean?
Tanya: Your future’s all used up.

You could read the whole story in these four lines.

Here are some Marlene Dietrich quotes to bring you home.

On Quotations: “I love them because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognizedly wiser than oneself.”

On Forgiveness: “Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.”

“Most women set out to try to change a man, and when they have changed him they do not like him.”

“America took me into her bosom when there was no longer a country worthy of the name, but in my heart I am German — German in my soul.”

“The Germans and I no longer speak the same language.”

Ms. Dietrich came to the U.S. during the turbulent period between the two world wars.

“The tears I have cried over Germany have dried. I have washed my face.”

“The average man is more interested in a woman who is interested in him than he is in a woman with beautiful legs.”

“Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.”

“Without tenderness, a man is uninteresting.”

Born in December 1901, the German-American actress passed away in May of 1992.

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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