Song Of Songs

  • 1933
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Dietrich's first US film not made with Josef von Sternberg was, Paramount thought, a can't-miss project. It was based on a successful novel by Hermann Sudermann, made into a successful play by Edward Sheldon, filmed silently starring Elsie Ferguson then again as LILY OF THE DUST with Pola Negri. Despite all of the prior incarnations, this did have a slightly...read more

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Dietrich's first US film not made with Josef von Sternberg was, Paramount thought, a can't-miss project. It was based on a successful novel by Hermann Sudermann, made into a successful play by Edward Sheldon, filmed silently starring Elsie Ferguson then again as LILY OF THE DUST with

Pola Negri. Despite all of the prior incarnations, this did have a slightly different feel about it, probably due to the direction of newcomer Mamoulian, who was just coming off his hit, DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, starring Fredric March. Dietrich is a farm girl who has just lost her father. She goes

to the big city of Berlin and moves in with an aunt, Skipworth, who owns a bookshop. Dietrich is employed in the shop and meets Aherne, a handsome sculptor who lives nearby. While Dietrich is on a ladder attending to business, Aherne's keen eyes spot the legs for which she was so famous and he

wonders if she would like to pose for a statue. She turns him down but not totally. Late that night, while Skipworth is off in dreamland, Dietrich leaves the flat above the store and goes across the road to see Aherne. She agrees to pose in the altogether for a statue which will represent the Song

of Solomon. They fall madly in love and spend as much time as they can with each other. The statue is done and Atwill, a rich patron of the arts, is stunned by its beauty when he sees it in Aherne's studio. He is even more taken when Dietrich, the model for the work, steps out. Aherne's and

Dietrich's love deepens, and Dietrich makes no bones about wanting to be Aherne's wife and the mother of his children, but he finds it difficult to accept, as assuming such responsibility might cause his art to suffer. At the same time, Atwill has been insidiously making friends with Skipworth,

slipping her cash and gifts in an attempt to enlist her help for his ultimate goal--marriage to Dietrich. Atwill also works on Aherne and convinces him that it would be best for all concerned if Aherne and Dietrich called an end to their affair as Aherne could then go on with his sculpting and

have no yoke around his neck. When Dietrich pads out of the apartment one night, Skipworth, who has set this up with Atwill, feigns anger and tells Dietrich that she is no longer welcome in the apartment or at her job. She runs to the studio but Aherne is not there. Instead, Atwill awaits her with

an offer. Aherne has gone away and Atwill is willing to marry Dietrich, thus making her a baroness, with all the accoutrements that come with great wealth and social position. She agrees, having nowhere else to go. A "Pygmalion" sequence now begins whereby Atwill's job is to make Dietrich over so

she can step into her new stratum. Freeman is Atwill's housekeeper and envious of the interloping woman in the house, feeling that her status is about to be usurped. Freeman tells Atwill that any woman of position should be able to ride a horse and he agrees. Then Freeman tells handsome Albright

to teach Dietrich, but also gives the youth the order to make a pass at Dietrich in order to discredit her with Atwill if she is amenable to the amour. Dietrich pays no heed to Albright's obvious intentions and stays true to Atwill. Her social education complete, Atwill plans a dinner with

Dietrich and Aherne to show off his wife. Atwill gets blind drunk and Dietrich attempts to demonstrate to Aherne that she's only married the old man because Aherne left her in the lurch. In order to show that she has no obligations to Atwill, she decides to visit Albright's small cottage on the

property and to make certain the disbelieving Aherne sees her going there, thereby proving she cares not for Atwill. Once inside the cottage, Dietrich intend to stopp short of an assignation, but Albright sweeps her up in his arms and is taking her to the bedroom when he knocks over a lighted.

Soon the cottage is in flames. Albright gets Dietrich out but Freeman, spotting her emerge, tells her to leave before Atwill learns of the scandalous matter. Dietrich disappears and a distraught Aherne searches for her all over Berlin. He finally locates her, now singing in a night club. After her

risque song, Aherne meets her again, rekindles their love, asks for her hand and she agrees. Dietrich sings Schubert's "Heidenroslein," and Friedrich Hollander and Edward Hayman wrote "Johnny." Another song, "You Are My Song of Songs," by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin, was shot and cut from the

movie. After several stage successes and a few films in England, this was Aherne's US debut, as well as the first picture for Freeman, who was cofounder of the Theatre Guild in New York and a well-known Broadway actress.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Dietrich's first US film not made with Josef von Sternberg was, Paramount thought, a can't-miss project. It was based on a successful novel by Hermann Sudermann, made into a successful play by Edward Sheldon, filmed silently starring Elsie Ferguson then ag… (more)

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