Dishonored (1931)


“It is now my duty to point out to you that the profession of a spy is the most ignoble calling on earth, lower than anything you have have ever experienced. And it is dangerous, of course.” – Austrian Secret Service Chief

“I’ve had an inglorious life. It may become my good fortune to have a glorious death.” – Marie Kolverer

Number of Times Seen – 1 (4 Jun 2020)

Brief Synopsis – A female spy is sent from Austria to Russia to try and gain government secrets by using her god given talents of seduction.

My Take on it – In my quest to watch more films from the 1930’s, I came across this movie and decided to give it a shot.

The premise is quite good and works most of the time, yet there are some instances where things seem far-fetched.

Marlene Dietrich was a very sexy and beautiful actress and is perfectly cast in the lead role here.

Se is ale to show the kind of damage a seductress can cause when working as a spy.

The fact that her characters gets very little training as a spy and is in fact a prostitute.

Her adeptness as a spy isn’t very believable and the way that she uses her charms and talents on her unsuspecting enemies is a bit too much.

This is especially due to the fact that she is able to outsmart one after another of the opposing spies along the way.

This film also deals with the fine line that a spy must walk as they try to get close to the enemy yet must be cautious not to fall in love along the way.

Victor McLagen is fine as the male lead yet his performance here doesn’t even manage to cast a shadow on the one given by Dietrich herself.

Bottom Line – Intriguing premise that only partial works.  Dietrich is great in the lead role and really shows the kind of damage a seductive female spy can cause if she does things right. The problem here is that her characters has little training in espionage, and is in fact a prostitute. Her adeptness as a spy doesn’t seem plausible enough as she is able to thwart enemy after enemy as the story moves along. The film also deals with the fine line between doing one’s duty for king and country and possibly falling in love with the enemy along the way. McLagen is fine in the male lead but doesn’t even come close to giving as good a performance as Dietrich does here.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The role of Col. Kranau was offered to Gary Cooper, but he turned it down because he did not want to work with director Josef von Sternberg again. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (6/10)

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