Marlene vs. Adolph. (Books)

Article excerpt

Marlene Dietrich: Her Own Song

* Written by Karin Kearns

* Directed by J. David Riva

* Narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis

* Turner Classic Movies

* Premieres December 27, 8 P.M. Eastern (check local listings)

Starting on December 27 (Marlene's 100th birthday), Dietrich fans can celebrate as Turner Classic Movies kicks off a monthlong filmfest (go to Advocate.com for a link to the schedule) That same night, TCM premieres the fascinating new documentary Marlene Dietrich: Her Own Song, which focuses not on her oft-reported relationships with both men (husband Rudolf Sieber, French actor Jean Gabin) and women (writer Mercedes de Acosta, fellow Hollywood luminary Claudette Colbert) but on her tortured one with her homeland, Germany.

Dietrich, Hollywood's hottest import in the early 1930s, was appalled by Hitler's rise to power back home and refused many pleas to return and make films for the Third Reich. Meanwhile, the Nazis condemned her sexy American movies. While the documentary makes no mention of Dietrich's lesbian loves, it suggests that one thing the Nazis couldn't stomach was her on-screen crossing of sexual boundaries: The famous scene in Morocco (a film banned in Germany)in which a tuxedoed Dietrich kisses a lovely woman on the lips is juxtaposed with a quote from the German press saying, "The film offends the moral and academic ideals of the Reich. …