Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Life before von Sternberg

The Woman Men Yearn For (1928)

Saturday July 16, 8.30pm, The Castro, San Francisco

A prince of industry abandons his bride when his head is turned by a mysterious and beautiful woman. Catching a glimpse of Staacha (Marlene Dietrich) through a train window, Henri LeBlanc (Uno Henning) is instantly bewitched. His resolve crumbles as she pleads for his help to escape her sinister travelling companion Dr. Karoff (Fritz Kortner). She only reveals the truth after Henri is hopelessly under her spell.

Based on Max Brod's original novel, The Woman Men Yearn For (1929) stars Dietrich the year before her breakout film The Blue Angel in a largely forgotten and surprisingly substantial role as the femme fatale with a twist. Excellent use of miniatures, industrial montage, spectacular costumes and the furious New Years Eve party are memorable.
Director Curtis Bernhardt immigrated to Hollywood in 1940, establishing himself as a women's director in films starring Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner and many others.

The 16th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the Film Noir Foundation, the Goethe-Institut San Francisco and German Consulate of San Francisco present The Women Men Yearn For (1929) with live musical accompaniment performed for returning artists, The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

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