The Scarlet Empress

  • Dir: Josef von Sternberg

  • USA, 1934, 105 minmins, DCP

  • Cast: Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Sam Jaffe

A palace of gigantic grotesque gargoyles; skeleton presiding over the banquet table; ominous shadows under the flickerings of candles… in a hyperrealist atmosphere of nightmare, an ostensibly naïve German princess who fails to find love in her halfwit husband turns herself into the all-powerful Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great. Painted as an adventuress coated in luxurious furs, Dietrich transforms her sexuality into a political weapon, toning her enigma of innocence and brutality in Sternberg’s visual extravaganza mixing legend, romance and fairytale.

USA National Board of Review’s Top Ten


    In-theatre Screening


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