Dietrich by Blossom
“Well, Gay News phoned and they want you to write a review on Dietrich”.
After about five minutes of moaning and groaning and self indulgent noises, I thought l had communicated my distress, and the fact that I had only ever written a diary and letters – and the occassional attempt at a book and a play that everybody seems to go through, so l shut up.
So that briefly explains what I’m doing heme looking at a blank sheet of paper thinking “Whatever I write will be a cliche…….everything it’s possible to write has been written.”
Anyway here goes.
The curtains open to reveal an unprepossessing orchestra of about twenty, they burst into a brief resume of her hits – the arrangements by Burt Bacharach, the playing isn’t – just as the whole thing starts to become a drag it stops.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Marlene Dietrich”.
Pause, where is she?
Then on she, well try to imagine a kind of gliding amble whilst clad in about half a hundredweight of white fox fur – try to imagine what Dietrich looks like covered in enormous splodges of shaving cream – anyway she’s there and that’s all the audience requires. She stands there accepting the applause, she’s been through this hundreds of times, it’s no surprise, but then neither is she.
Three songs later and the coat – or whatever it was – comes off, and she’s there again, vaguely covered by a peachy chiffon thing that glistens with rhinestones, again comes the applause and she stands there immaculately poised the legendry legs outlined by the thin silk. You know that every member of the audience has lifted their glasses in a half hopeful, hall fearful scrutiny, and she knows it, and it doesn’t worry her a bit. Whatever the need is that demands of her that she remains unchanged she’s up to it.
Song after song gets thrown at you intermingled with a brief biography, the only thing altered in the programme is the inclusion of a couple of songs, ‘Where have all the flowers gone’ and ‘White Grass’ and it’s these that bring the Dietrich to me that I personally feel is the one that is most neglected.
We all know about the legend that refuses to die, the Von Sternber film, the troop entertainment during the last war, the cabaret appearances, but I really feel that underneath all the glitter, there is great humanity and intelligence. l’d like to see her make another film, it’s ten years since ‘Judgement at Nuremburg’ and she’s been doing the present all for at least six. Forget the fact of her age and the whole sex symbol bit and try to suss her out. At the end of the show she collected her obligatory flowers and the dozen or so curtain calls, the legend was intact and the audience was satisfied, but there’s still more, I don’t know what or when but I’m pretty confident, but then I’m infatuated with her.
There’s a really good L.P. of her live the last time she was here. It’s called ‘Dietrich in London’ and it’s on Marble Arch Records.
Lots of love and cuddles, BLOSSOM.