Scarlet Empress

views updated

Scarlet Empress ★★★½ 1934

One of Von Sternberg's greatest films tells the story of Catherine the Great and her rise to power. Dietrich stars as the beautiful royal wife who outwits her foolish husband Peter (Jaffe) to become empress of Russia. Incredibly rich decor is a visual feast for the eye, as perfectionist von Sternberg fussed over every detail. Dietrich is excellent as Catherine, and von Sternberg's mastery of lighting and camera work makes for a highly extravagant film. Based on the diary of Catherine the Great. 110m/B VHS, DVD . Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Sam Jaffe, Louise Dresser, Maria Sieber, Sir C. Aubrey Smith, Ruthelma Stevens, Olive Tell; D: Josef von Sternberg; W: Manuel Komroff; C: Bert Glennon.