L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Voodoo - Marlene vs. Shirley

Dietrich in costume for the famous/infamous "Hot Voodoo" number from her fourth American film, 1932's "Blonde Venus", directed by von Sternberg. Her character in the film, Helen Faraday, is working in a nightclub and first appears in the scene in a gorilla costume, surrounded by "savage" chorines. After slowly - and in very gorilla-like posture - traversing the room, she makes her way back to the stage and proceeds to dismantle herself, removing her gorilla hands, gorilla head and, after the addition of a large, arrow-pierced white frightwig, reveals herself to be some sort of very blonde savage, herself. 

In this publicity shot the bodice of her costume is different than that used in the film; was it felt that this version was just too suggestive?


The following year, Shirley Temple got in on the act when she spoofed the great German diva in the Baby Burlesk short, “Kid N Hollywood.”

Apparently, there were no hard feelings.


  1. Hey mister!
    I love the updated look, but them I really love your work unreservedly.

    As for Marlene, she looks rather awkward in this number, but somehow manages to sell the hell out of it, for all the strange trappings slapped on her. Testimony to her abilities as an actor that even those insane costumes couldn't quench her allure.

    1. Thank you, Paul! : )

      This number is such a completely goofy MESS of a thing that, in my mind, it turns into something quite... perfect! ; )