Apr 3, 2007

The Mystery of Lili Marlene

On her April 3rd diary page,
Dot mentions seeing the movie Lili Marlene at the Englewood Theatre. Dot's sister recalls that it was wonderful—a tearjerker.

However, in my research, I could find no record of a feature-length film titled
Lili Marlene. A 29-min. documentary titled The Story of Lili Marlene was in theatres at this time, however Marlene Dietrich is not listed in the cast. The New York Times described the film:
One of this war's strangest psychological backfires is the basis for a short picture ... a dramatized story of how the war song Lili Marlene was literally captured by the British 8th Army after it had been the outstanding morale device of the German[s]. [...] Lala Andersen, the Swedish actress who had introduced it, was placed in a concentration camp and from that day forward, Lili Marlene became a British marching song.

I originally suspected the film Dot and Sis saw may have actually been a retitled reissue of
The Blue Angel—the 1930 German production. It is possible it could also have been Kismet, starring Dietrich (or Blonde Venus, with Dietrich and Cary Grant), and that Dot and Sis got it and the documentary mixed-up. However, Kismet was released only a couple of days earlier, on April 1, and so it would be suprising if it was already at the local Englewood Theatre, which normally showed films that had been in release for some time.

If any readers can shed light on this minor mystery, drop me a line.

Update: My best guess, so far (unless or until I can get some definitive evidence), is that the movie Dot and Sis saw was the short documentary,
The Story of Lili Marlene, and that my aunt Louise (Sis) over the years confused, understandably, the song and singer in that film with Marlene Dietrich's frequent and memorable performances of the tune that she gave over the years.

(Today's diary entry >)

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