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Morocco

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With this romantic reverie, Marlene Dietrich, in her only Oscar-nominated performance, made her triumphant Hollywood debut before American audiences and unveiled the enthralling, insouciant persona that would define her Hollywood collaboration with director Josef von Sternberg.
Set on the far side of the world but shot outside Los Angeles, Morocco navigates a labyrinth of melancholy and desire as the cabaret singer Amy Jolly (Dietrich), fleeing her former life, takes her act to the shores of North Africa, where she entertains the overtures of a wealthy man of the world while finding herself increasingly drawn to a strapping legionnaire with a shadowy past of his own (Gary Cooper). Fueled by the smoldering chemistry between its two stars (not to mention the startlingly erotic connection between Dietrich and everyone around her, on full display when the supremely-confident star, sporting a snappy men’s tailcoat, plants a kiss on a female fan) and shot in dazzling light and seductive shadow, the seductive Morocco is a transfixing exploration of elemental passions. (Dir. by Josef von Sternberg, 1930, USA, 92 mins., Not Rated)

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