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Big screen classics

Dishonored

Von Sternberg’s erotically charged WWI espionage romance with Marlene Dietrich.

Image from Dishonored

USA 1931
Dir Josef von Sternberg
With Marlene Dietrich, Victor McLaglen, Lew Cody
91min
35mm
Certificate PG

Fassbinder included Sternberg’s WWI espionage romance in his top ten films. Though the story of agent X-27 (Dietrich) is far-fetched, Sternberg is clearly more interested in his heroine’s powerful sexual mystique, and constructs an innuendo-laden fable around that theme. Fassbinder would surely have admired the notion of love falling foul of an oppressively constricting society, not to mention Lee Garmes’ extraordinarily ornate black and white camerawork.

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