Ty Burr
June 26, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Marlene

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
94 minutes
performer
Marlene Dietrich
director
Maximilian Schell
distributor
Embassy Home Video
genre
Documentary

We gave it an A-

Rushed back into video release after Marlene Dietrich’s recent death, Marlene is a fittingly bizarre eulogy to that most baroque of stars. Faced with an impasse that would stymie anyone — the 84-year-old actress allowed herself to be interviewed on audiotape but flatly refused to be filmed — director Maximilian Schell comes through with a penetrating meditation on the masks of glamour. Schell brings on the standard film clips, to be sure, but only as counterpoint to Dietrich’s quavery, brutally unsentimental musings on the soundtrack (on The Blue Angel: ”Everyone’s sick of it”). If only because her screen persona was so opaque, this is the rare star bio that is crucial to an understanding of its star. A-

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