The Book of Marlene

Marlene van Niekerk
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As a result, during her entire career, she is meticulous in her preparation for roles, paying close attention to body position and the effects of light. Marlene goes with him, followed soon afterward by Sieber and their daughter, Heidede. However, Hollywood legend has it that they met much earlier and had an affair.

Von Sternberg, with whom she has slept just once, but who clearly wants a prolonged affair, despises Cooper. In spite of all her dallying, Marlene stays married to Sieber, who raises their daughter with his mistress, Tamara. In one amusing episode, Marlene, Rudi, and their daughter spend a vacation together with his lover, her lover, and even one of her former lovers!

Although representatives of Hitler and Goebbels approach her to make propaganda films, she refuses. In , she becomes an American citizen. Unable to land good roles in Hollywood and anxious to serve her adopted country, Marlene signs a contract with the USO to perform for Allied troops. In and , she entertains soldiers on the front lines in Algeria, Italy, and France, and even has an affair with General George Patton.

Faced with irrefutable proof of Nazi atrocities, she cannot come to forgive her sister, Liesel, who stayed in Belsen with her husband, managing a movie theater that ran propaganda films. Gortner might have freed up space by eliminating or paring down some of the sex scenes. Naturally, a book about Marlene Dietrich requires erotic interludes, but these are so abundant and repetitive that they become tedious, especially as some read more like male fantasies than authentic female experiences. On the other hand, Gortner does do a wonderful job of humanizing his subject. Furthermore, one can empathize with her struggle against weight gain and her feelings of betrayal when Hollywood abandons her.

Overall, Marlene provides an entertaining and fairly accurate portrait of a complex and captivating woman. Her previous fiction includes the international bestseller Frida , based on the relationship between Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and Sister Teresa , based on the life of Teresa of Avila. She is the faculty adviser of the Georgetown University Student Veterans Association, and many of her recent short stories derive from the experiences of the veterans she works with.

Marlene by C.W. Gortner

A success, she moved to the U. The rest, as they say, is legend. In , the American Film Institute named Dietrich the ninth-greatest female star of all time. Among my favourites of her films were Witness for the Prosecution and Stage Fright. Marlene's middle years were of great interest to this baby boomer: Approached by the Nazis to return to Germany, she famously turned them down flat. Staunchly anti-Nazi, she became an American citizen in Dietrich became one of the first celebrities to raise war bonds.

She toured the US for most of and , reportedly selling more bonds than any other star. When asked why she did so despite the obvious dangers, she replied, 'aus Anstand' 'out of decency'. Awarded the US Medal of Freedom in , she said this was her proudest accomplishment. Dietrich performed on Broadway twice in the late s, winning a special Tony Award in Unhappy with the result, she need not have been. I have live recordings of her s and s concerts, and what a performer she was. She had no need to sing as such; she was simply a supreme artiste who held audiences around the planet mesmerised.

In her later years, Dietrich's health declined. She survived cervical cancer and suffered from poor leg circulation. A stage fall injured her left thigh, requiring skin grafts. Well it isn't. Maybe once, but not now. Her last film appearance was a cameo role in Just a Gigolo , starring David Bowie, in which she sang the title song. Dependent on painkillers and alcohol, Dietrich withdrew to the seclusion of her Paris apartment to spend her dotage mostly bedridden.

For more than a decade she became a prolific letter-writer and phone-caller, before dying aged 90 in It is perhaps unnecessary to hear from Maria Riva about her mother's many affairs and sexual fetishes. Fortunately, this does not lower the book's tone, just pads it out needlessly. That is my only criticism. A good, solid documentation of a screen legend's ways by her frank and not at all nasty daughter. Nov 15, Tam May rated it liked it. This book should really be called "Marlene and Me" because it's as much about Riva as it is about Dietrich.

The book is definitely entertaining and Riva does have writing talent and a wicked sense of humor apparently, like her mother had.

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Riva describes in detail the emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother and her father in a different way, but mostly her mother and paints a demonizi This book should really be called "Marlene and Me" because it's as much about Riva as it is about Dietrich. Riva describes in detail the emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother and her father in a different way, but mostly her mother and paints a demonizing portrait of Dietrich that is clearly highly colored by her point of view.

I'm not saying I don't believe most if not all of the ills Riva suffered at the hands of her mother who, without trying to be too psychoanalytical, seems to me to have clearly had some major personality disorders really happened - I have no doubt that they did. But like many celebrity biographies written by abuse survivors, it has an element of revenge, of wanting to completely break down the idealized image of the Hollywood star that the studio system created, to the detriment of many such stars.

Marlene Dietrich stars in a new novel

While disillusionment can be good, it can also become almost like a fairy tale of a wicked witch, a complete villain that becomes dehumanized. Many other reviews have commented on Riva's unreliable narrative and I tend to agree with this. I accept that Riva creates many dialogues or, in Dietrich's case, monologues that clearly could never have taken place word-for-word but I felt that, too often, Riva positioned herself as the martyr, the desired savior of others who fell victims to her mother and father's emotional abuse like her father's mistress Tami and there were also areas where it felt almost like Riva's sole purpose was to justify her own actions or what she makes clear that she viewed as her own weaknesses.

So if you're looking for a biography of Marlene Dietrich, this is definitely not where you want to look, as it is terribly bias and questionable on facts, despite it being humorous and entertaining. Jul 10, Mary Narkiewicz rated it really liked it. I'm reading this biography now.. I don't know that I'd like Marlene.. She didn't seem to care at all for our animal and bird friends except for having their fur and feathers to decorate her body for her films.. Still, though this is opposed to everything I believe, I read on because of the amazing revelations about this movie sta I'm reading this biography now..

Still, though this is opposed to everything I believe, I read on because of the amazing revelations about this movie star, the film industry and culture in the thirties, forties.. Once I heard a tape of Marlene D. Marlene's voice was so incredibly tender and loving on the tape.. I'll just keep that memory with me.. Jan 26, Ava rated it did not like it. I tried to work myself through that biography, but I could not finish it.

My expectation was to get an inside into an icon of the film industry, into a woman who was born in the same city as myself, went through similar experiences as my grandma and created herself to become a diva. We all know the diva, but I was hoping to explore the woman, the human being behind that diva. Well, this biography is more about the daughter as it is about Marlene Dietrich, which is fine, but the title and the intr I tried to work myself through that biography, but I could not finish it.

Well, this biography is more about the daughter as it is about Marlene Dietrich, which is fine, but the title and the introduction are deceiving. It gets boring, repetitive, and as one reads along more and more bitter. Was that to get even with her mother? I closed this book for good on page Jan 07, Inez Parra rated it really liked it.

Feb 28, Sherrie rated it it was amazing. One of the very best Hollywood memoirs - actually quite well written, full of genuine respect but also packed to the brim with often sordid displays of utter selfishness. Dietrich orchestrated every single moment of her life - there's something very Was Dietrich from another planet!? Conspiracy theory. Jun 13, Amy rated it it was ok. Eh, this was a bit too fluffy for me, but coming from her pampered daughter, I didn't expect much different. Sep 10, Laurie rated it really liked it.

This is an absorbing biography of Dietrich by her daughter, Maria Riva. When Riva was in her teens, she was still being dressed as a little girl, to enforce the illusion that Dietrich had only given birth to her a few years before. Dietrich drank heavily especially late in life and was her own pharmacist, in the years when amphetamines and downers were easily gotten. As far as I could tell, she never gave a thought to anyone else unless they could do something for her.

Author Story: Marlene Zefferys self-publishes her new novel

But she was beautiful, and could enthrall audiences. She was smart- she learned from wardrobe, lighting people, directors and anyone else and applied what she learned to her art. Thankfully, most of the people she worked with were willing to take her orders.

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She was strict with herself when working, and had bulimia, which allowed her to eat the rich foods she loved and still lose weight. Sadly, in her old age, she developed some dementia and that, along with her alcoholism and drug use, made her last years sad indeed. Of course this is the biography of Riva, too. As long as her mother was alive, their lives were entwined.

Riva did carve out her own life, though, becoming a television star for many years and raising a family. Love Dietrich! This book by her daughter is punctuated with letters and diary entries from both Maria and Marlene. Who could not be but fascinated by this enigmatic woman. I was particularly drawn to her earlier life before she became the Hollywood star. It begins with a third-person narration of Marlene's early life when she was Maria 'Lena' Magdelena prior to age 13 when she chose her new name amid much discipline, different languages, journaling, emotional relationships with both men and women, attending the Max Reinhardt acting school, and going on go-see's and screen tests.

She marries Rudolf Sieber in May and, later, gives birth to her one and only child, a daughter. From then, it takes a dip into first-person narration from her daughter's perspective.

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Feb 28, Sherrie rated it it was amazing. Most popular. I think Off-Island by Marlene Hauser is a very important book. She does not praise simply to praise though; she seems to understand the adoration of the facade Marlene Dietrich showed the world. She marries Rudolf Sieber in May and, later, gives birth to her one and only child, a daughter. NEWS helnwein.

It struck me as being a little unusual, but it took awhile for me to realize that the author, Maria Riva, is Marlene's daughter. So, in switching this narrarion, she's recounting her own life in the theatre, on USO tours, behind the scenes on Hollywood sets, and caregiving for her mom alongside Marlene's love affairs into her 40s and 50s, working in Las Vegas, equipping WWII troops overseas on her own dime, working with Alfred Hitchcock. Sep 21, Irene Xandra rated it it was amazing Shelves: md. First of all, the book has a wonderful literary style, entertaining, easy to read, but never simplistic.

The tone of the writing is very often ironic, in a very skillful manner. As far as the content of the book, Maria chooses to disclose the mystery and to break the Dietrich legend. In a way, this is a healthy choice, because Marlene took herself so seriously that she managed to First of all, the book has a wonderful literary style, entertaining, easy to read, but never simplistic.

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In a way, this is a healthy choice, because Marlene took herself so seriously that she managed to build a powerful myth, that hid all her flaws. She gives an honest opinion about her limits as an actress and singer, but also recognizes her technical, artistic merits and her determination, that she used to her advantage. The image she paints of Dietrich is of an egocentric, whose manner of expressing love was to own the persons around her and control them in her own idea of their good interest, which was not necessarily the right one.

The most common way of expressing it became the material way, of buying things and paying things for people. Maybe some of the myth should have been perpetuated. Mar 17, Madeline rated it liked it Shelves: biography , non-fiction , wwii , the-movies , women , family , memoir , library-books , marriage-lets-you-down , queer. June Another thing I remembered! And turns out the National Gallery is exhibiting Dietrich Portraits. You can see a slideshow of some of them here.

I read it when I was like 13, and I still retain the memory of the clothes. Other standouts: Dietrich and Mae West being friends because of course! I think at one point Riva tries to paint Garbo as a Dietrich wannabe? For Kismet , Dietrich had her hair pulled back so tightly that her scalp bled. Dietrich was originally called Madeline or Mary Madeline but spelled like a German would spell it, obvs so I may have thought about trying to get people to call me Marlene instead of my normal nickname.

I'm not saying I definitely did. Just maybe. Also - Weimar drag clubs. Dietrich thought only drag queens really understood how to wear garters. And she thought speaking English was a class marker. So, like, you could speak English to the maids in a French hotel because they wouldn't speak French. Also, tip generously at the beginning of your stay and then don't tip at the end. This is also the book that introduced me to the idea of Mercedes de Acosta. For which I will be forever grateful. May 12, Don LaFountaine rated it liked it. This book described the life of Marlene Dietrich through the eyes of her daughter.

It made for some interesting insights into the life and actions of this acclaimed actress. Reading about the unconventional marriage, relationships, and beliefs of this movie star kept me shaking my head. Though I have not seen too many of her films, one gets the impression that she did not make too many good ones. Most of them seemed to be described as fair to poor. Maybe she lasted long because of her beauty, or This book described the life of Marlene Dietrich through the eyes of her daughter.

Maybe she lasted long because of her beauty, or maybe it was because of her willingness to sleep with many, many people. Her resilience can not be denied as she lasted in a form of show business for many years. Some of her life is described via letter and telegrams she sent and received. Though after a while I felt this was overdone and the reader did not need this to understand the author's point, it cannot be denied that overall this add to the understanding of a woman who had a unique life. This book is interesting, though the reader can feel the bitterness throughout it's pages. It is a gossipy book, with some parts seemingly belonging on a supermarket tabloid.

As this is the first biography of Marlene Dietrich I have read, I think it was a good one to start with, and makes me interested in what others had to say about her.

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Sep 10, Evanston Public Library added it. Russ K. Feb 03, Richard rated it liked it Shelves: performing-arts. While this is foremost a biography and not a very flattering one of Marlene Dietrich, it's also a memoir of what it's like to be the daughter of an overbearing, vain, and selfish world famous celebrity. The author, Dietrich's daughter, had an interesting life because of her mother's fame, but a very difficult one as well. I see most reviewers here on Goodreads are giving this book a better rating than I am, and I think that's probably because I'm not really the intended audience for a book lik While this is foremost a biography and not a very flattering one of Marlene Dietrich, it's also a memoir of what it's like to be the daughter of an overbearing, vain, and selfish world famous celebrity.

I see most reviewers here on Goodreads are giving this book a better rating than I am, and I think that's probably because I'm not really the intended audience for a book like this. There was way too much description of fashion and decor for my tastes, and I didn't care for how much of the story was told through reconstructed dialog, although this technique does give the reader an idea of what it was like to be in Dietrich's presence, at least from the daughter's perspective.

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Marlene book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. A lush, dramatic biographical novel of one of the most glamorous and allur. Start by marking “Marlene Dietrich by Her Daughter” as Want to Read: Marlene Deitrich was considered one of the most glamorous stars of her day. Marlene Dietrich: The Life by Maria Riva is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early June.

Still, an interesting book about a lady who was, at times, fascinating on screen but apparently very unlikeable in real life. Aug 31, Annie rated it liked it Shelves: biography , before The great german actress died in in Paris. I was a great fan of her and I never forget the day I was on the funeral to say goodbye to her. That was in in Berlin.

I was lucky I could hide from the guard as it was not yet for public. Only for close friends and family of course the press. IT has been a long time when I read this book - it was publishes just a few days after she passed away. This book is written by her daughter Maria Riva I cannot give 5 stars because I do not agree with e The great german actress died in in Paris. This book is written by her daughter Maria Riva I cannot give 5 stars because I do not agree with everything how she portray her mother.

She may have her reasons because Marlene wasn't a good mother. It is worth to read the book because nobody knew this actress better then her daughter. I am a fan of the old movies and in this book Mrs. Riva tells us abouth the glorious Marlene Movies in the 30 tees. I do like the over personal pics in this book. Oct 17, J rated it really liked it. An incredibly detailed and revealing biography is unfortunately tainted by Riva's overarching need for us to hate her mother as much as she does.

Well-written, and wonderfully researched, Riva powerfully resurrects her subject while other biographers are merely capable of describing theirs. Yet, every movement and word Dietrich ever made are assigned the worst possible motives, making this book verge into 'Mommie Dearest' territory. Her personal account of her mother's life would have been bette An incredibly detailed and revealing biography is unfortunately tainted by Riva's overarching need for us to hate her mother as much as she does.

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Her personal account of her mother's life would have been better served if she had tempered her private feelings about the past with empathy for her subject. However, the sheer amount of insider information and Riva's gift for biographical writing keep this book afloat and make it an enthralling, if unbalanced, gem. Feb 04, Patrick Duran rated it really liked it.

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Very illuminating but exhaustive account of Dietrich's life told from the perspective of her daughter. My main criticism is that how is one to believe word-for-word conversations that took place as early as age five? Maybe Riva has an amazing ability to reconstruct exact conversations from decades past but I take it for what it's worth: a remembrance of how conversations might have transpired in this intriguing woman's life with exaggeration in details. There are interesting, salacious accounts Very illuminating but exhaustive account of Dietrich's life told from the perspective of her daughter.

There are interesting, salacious accounts bared, but it is rather annoying that some figures escape identification, namely Cavalier, a lover of Marlene's who was supposedly a noted actor. Definitely worth the read if you have the patience.