A husband and a daughter – and the beginning of Fame

Last time we left Marlene, in 1922, being sacked four weeks after getting a job playing the violin in a pit orchestra for silent films at a Berlin cinema!

In 1923 Marlene met Rudolf Sieber, a film professional who helped her land a part in the German 1923 silent film Tragedy of Love where she took the role of the judge’s mistress. The couple married on 17th May 1923 and welcomed their only child, Maria Elisabeth Sieber, on 13th December 1924. Marlene and Rudolf only lived together for 5 years but remained a married couple until Rudolf’s death on 24th June 1976.

Marlene continued to work on stage throughout the 1920s with roles from Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw and in musicals and revues. By the late 1920 she was also playing sizable parts on screen and it was in 1929 that she landed a breakthrough role – the role of Lola Lola, a cabaret singer who caused the downfall of a hitherto respectable schoolmaster, in the UFA-Paramount co-production of ‘The Blue Angel’.  Josef von Sternberg directed the film and thereafter took credit for having “discovered” Marlene Dietrich!  For many the film was/is most noteworthy for having introduced Marlene’s signature song “Falling in Love Again”.

On the strength of the film’s international success, and with encouragement and promotion from Sternberg who was already established in Hollywood, Marlene moved to the USA under contract to Paramount Pictures where the studio set about marketing Marlene Dietrich as a German answer to the Swedish sensation, Greta Garbo!

PS: Not recorded above but performed by Marlene we can add: on-stage performance involvement in: Frank Wedekind’s ‘Pandora’s Box’; performances of Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Back to Methuselah’ and ‘Misalliance’.  She was also involved in musicals and reviews.

We’ll leave this as is now – and come back next week with some answers and some ‘challenges’.

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