MARLENE DIETRICH AS PROSTITUTE | BLONDE VENUS [1932] Oversized portrait by Don English – 2


Hollywood: Paramount Pictures, [1932]. Vintage original 11 x 14″ (28 x 32 cm.) lightly-tinted sepia double weight glossy silver gelatin photo. Pin holes at each of four corners. Blind stamp of “Don English, Hollywood” at bottom right corner,  “Credit will be appreciated Paramount Photo by Don English” and “N.Y. Ex” ink stamps on verso, as well as attached typed paper blurb. “Paramount, Oct. 6” written in pencil. Fine.

Blonde Venus is a pre-Code opus which takes star Marlene Dietrich through a gamut of characterizations, from youthful innocence to wealthy socialite to fallen woman to prostitute to celebrated cabaret star to wealthy worldly woman. In a world run by men, she made her own destiny. Such characterizations would not be as blatant once the stringent Production Code of 1934 was enforced. Nor were stars allowed to display in as blatant fashion the depiction of prostitution.

Though not overt, there is no question of the provocative character Dietrich displays in this character sitting as the fallen Helen Jones.

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