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With: Marlene Dietrich, Victor McLaglen, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Warner Oland, Lew Cody, Barry Norton
Written by: Josef von Sternberg, Daniel N. Rubin, based on a story by Josef von Sternberg
Directed by: Josef von Sternberg
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 91
Date: 04/04/1931

Dishonored (1931)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Sigh Spy

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The third of Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich's seven great films together, Dishonored is a twisty, tragic spy movie, and a favorite of Jean-Luc Godard's. Dietrich plays Marie Kolverer, a streetwalker in 1915 Vienna. When the body of another prostitute is found, Marie's cold comment, "I am not afraid of life... Although I am not afraid of death, either," attracts the attention of the Chief of Austrian Secret Service (Gustav von Seyffertitz). He recruits her to become a spy ("Agent X-27"), and to use her feminine wiles to find out whether Colonel von Hindau (Warner Oland) is a traitor. This easy job leads her to a more worthy adversary in Colonel Kranau (Victor McLaglen), as well as characters falling in love, etc. With all the ritzy interiors, Sternberg seems to have found less opportunity for his usual thick, soft visuals, but the old electricity is still here.

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