To most, Marlene Dietrich is an enigma, a divine creation of the silver screen. Chandler's newest biography wonderfully brings to life the person behind the facade of lights and cameras, using interviews, interspersed with synopses of her films, to tell Dietrich's story. Chandler's gift is her ear for anecdote. Contributing oral passages are Leni Riefenstahl, Edward Kennedy ("she preferred my brother Jack"), and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., who provides a fascinating account of Dietrich's intent to dissuade Edward VIII from abdicating and her plot to kill Hitler ("if necessary, I would go in and visit him naked"). Born Marie Magdalene, she would eventually change her name to Marlene Dietrich and capture Hollywood as a love goddess on and off the screen. Dietrich made her own contribution to history: she abandoned her German citizenship to become a U.S. citizen as an anti-Nazi gesture. She dazzled U.S. troops as a front line patriot singing "Lili Marlene" at the liberation of Paris. As the supreme chanteuse, she toured Las Vegas, Nev.; Germany; and Israel where she boldly sang in German to a Tel Aviv audience. A complex woman, Dietrich struggled with her fame, and in the end it came to hold her hostage, and her principles of candor and liberty were lost to ego and vanity. Photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2011 Release date: 03/01/2011 Genre: Nonfiction
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