Feature: Marlene Dietrich – Beyond Top Hat and Tails on 6 May

Resonance FM repeated Marlene Dietrich – Beyond Top Hat and Tails to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Marlene Dietrich’s death. The programme went out on 6 May 2017 at 21.30h and was presented by author Clayton Littlewood.

Marlene Dietrich dazzled audiences – whether in a glittering dresses or in elegant tails. She crossed gender like no other star and became a gay icon. What was her appeal to a gay audience? Her glamour? Her strength? Her liberty? What could be read between the lines?

Marlene’s illustrious life took her from the heady days of 1920s Berlin to the glamour of 1930s Hollywood, from the fronts of the Second World War to the most prestigious stages in the world. Despite being married, she had numerous affairs with famous men and women. Yet, she managed to avoid scandal to keep her impeccable image intact.

Clayton hears from a number of Marlene connoisseurs, including art historian Simon Watney and Terry Sanderson, organiser of a Marlene Dietrich Tribute. Together they take at closer look at this unusual woman, who was very much ahead of her time and often described as the ‘last goddess’.

We would like to thank the Marlene Dietrich Collection Berlin at the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek for their support and Alan Brodie Representation Ltd for their kind permission to use an extract from a letter by Noel Coward to Marlene Dietrich published in The Letters of Noel Coward copyright © NC Aventales AG and Barry Day 2007, alanbrodie.com. We would also like to thank Frieder Roth and the University of Minnesota Press for their kind permissions to use extracts from Marlene Dietrich’s Ich bin Gott sei Dank Berlinerin, Maria Riva’s Marlene Diterich by Her Daughter and from Steven Bach’s book Marlene Dietrich – Life and Legend. We would also like to thank David Benson for his readings.

Marlene Dietrich – Beyond Top Hat and Tails was first broadcast in 2012 and produced by Sabine Schereck.

The programme was online for 7 days.

Terry Sanderson’s next Marlene Tribute with clips from her films and her concerts is on 6 July 2017 at the Cinema Museum as part of the Pride festival.

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