Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich was born in Schöneberg in December 1901. There she grew up in her mother’s middle class household. in As young one she initially pursued the plan to become a violin virtuoso. When that didn’t work out, she played her first small theatre and film roles in 1922. Beside actress she made herself chansonniere in the mid-twenties. So she took part in characteristic Berlin Cabaret revues of the Golden Era written by Marcellus Schiffer and others.

Or she sang in the company of the banjoist and guitarist Mike Danzi of Italian American origin. (cf. Bratfisch, Jazz in Berlin, p. 58). “Jazz got her”.

At the Cabaret

She began to play small roles on various Berlin stages. In 1928 then she appeared in the Box office revue “Es liegt in der Luft”, for which Mischa Spoliansky provided the music. (see Knauer, Wolffram, Play yourself, man! p. 46). She was Margo Lion`s duet partner of the revue song „Wenn die beste Freundin…“ („When the best friend…“), and throughout her life they remained also best friend off the stage.

For the revue “Zwei Krawatten” in 1929 it was Friedrich Hollaender who composed the music. These pieces emphazised her musical talent. Here she was discovered by the Hollywood-based director Josef von Sternberg of Austrian origin.

At the Movies

He was looking for a leading actress for Lola in his film “Der Blaue Engel”. At the audition he invited her to, she forgot the slip of paper with the lyrics to the song and instead sang the only American song she knew by heart. That more than convinced Josef von Sternberg! She had the role! And Friedrich Hollaender wrote the music again, and the Weintraubs Syncopators recorded the complete film music in 1929 and 1930 (Bratfisch, Jazz in Berlin, p. 47). They also accompany her vocal performances in the film.

The person Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich became internationally known and made a career in Hollywood (see Nippoldt, Robert, It becomes night in Berlin in the roaring twenties, p. 155 ff.) Her deep, smoky, erotic voice and her pantsuits became characteristic. she made the garment socially acceptable for women in the 1930s. She took citizenship of the United States in 1939 and worked in troop support for the Allies during World War. She chose to be a loud determined opponent of the Nazis.


Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß auf Liebe eingestellt

Lili Marleen

Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte

Ich hab noch einen Koffer in Berlin

Sag mir, wo die Blumen sind

Also see: KIND OF GOLDEN – The New West