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Turner Classic Movies presents Marlene Dietrich: Her Own Song (2000), a documentary on the German-born cabaret singer and acclaimed actress Marlene Dietrich. Directed and co-produced by Dietrich's grandson, J. David Riva and written and co-produced by Karin Kearns, the documentary goes beyond her glamorous persona, famous love affairs and legendary performances to explore the untold story of her artistic achievements and the personal struggle surrounding her involvement in the political intrigue of Nazi Germany.
Filmed in Germany, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., the documentary depicts Dietrich's behind-the-scenes role as a political activist while chronicling her rise as a young stage and silent film actress in Berlin during the stormy 1920s. The documentary details her continued efforts to support the American troops fighting the Nazi regime after her career began to dwindle. Film clips including exclusive footage of Dietrich and interviews with family, friends and historians, show the fierce individuality and personal convictions that caused Dietrich to fight for her beliefs, even though it meant that she was declared an enemy by her native country. Deitrich stated, "America took me into her bosom when I no longer had a native country worthy of the name but in my heart I am German - German in my soul."
The documentary features personal insights from Dietrich's daughter and biographer, Maria Riva, and the first-ever interview from her sister's son in Germany; singer and friend Rosemary Clooney; and Burt Bacharach, who accompanied her on her concert tours. Historical perspective of her support of efforts to overthrow the Nazi regime are given by friend and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and German Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld and author, film historian Dr. Felix Moller.
Dietrich, who performed on stage until 70 and lived to be 91, died in self-imposed exile in Paris. She launched her career in Hollywood when she in appeared in The Blue Angel (1930) after many ears of acting and singing in Germany. She became an overnight success, but faded from the spotlight, refusing to return to Germany to appear in movies for the Nazis even through Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's minister of propaganda made numerous attempts to lure her back. Instead, she helped the Allied war effort. Her efforts included selling bonds, attending USO front line concerts and performing with American entertainers abroad, earning her two of the highest medals that can be awarded to a civilian from America and France.
Director: J. David Riva
Narrator: Jamie Lee Curtis
BW & C-101m. Closed captioning. Letterboxed.