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Biography, Theatre and Film
By Malene Sheppard Skaerved
Marlene Dietrich, shaped by her Prussian bourgeois background and the Berlin of the 1920s, lived with unconventional passion. Having moved to Hollywood and become a cosmopolitan star, she used the power of glamour and conviction as a weapon against Nazi Germany. Her legend became so important to her that she spent her last decade in total seclusion, rather than let her audiences witness her decline.
'A beauty so overwhelming that it allows her own character never to come into play and therefore never to be called into question...' commented Alistair Cooke, 'it is because the Dietrich character has no home, no passport, no humdrum loyalties, that memory can hold her in permanent soft focus.'
‘There isn’t much flab on this elegant monograph on Marlene Dietrich, which almost seems chiseled to the pattern of its subject’s cheekbones. Dietrich worked hard as a pack horse in the upkeep of her legend, and the author follows suit with a no-nonsense prose that states the facts . . .’
Sight & Sound, September 2003
‘This wonderful pocket biography recounts the life and loves of a true superstar.’
The Daily Express, 25 January 2003
Malene Sheppard Skaerved teaches screenwriting at Birkbeck College, London. She has collaborated on an opera with the British composer Paul Archbold and won many prizes for her short films.