Tag Archives: Marlene Dietrich

Memories On The Small Screen

Dear Friends,

Last Saturday a film we produced played on NBC.  It was Judgement at Nuremberg, starring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Maximilian Schell, Montgomery Clift, and Werner Klemperer.

Judgement at Nuremberg

We enjoyed it so much—it was so filled with the author, Abby Mann’s screenplay.  And, despite being thought of as too “intellectual and thoughtful,” it was one of our greatest successes! We just love the story about how the film came together and decided to re-share our story with you today (we originally posted the story below November 2014).

KATHARINE HEPBURN’S UNKNOWN TRIUMPH! 

In 1960, a teleplay was performed on Playhouse 90. The program was called Judgment at Nuremburg, which was a somber and serious piece.
Philip Langner of The Theatre Guild, Inc. received a script “over the transom”—as they say about unknown scripts. The Guild directors liked the script and “knowing” its virtual impossibility as a film, decided—with the author’s agreement—to have a play written and to produce it on Broadway.

At the time, Katharine Hepburn was playing Antony & Cleopatra at the Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, CT (created by Lawrence Langner). On a very remote possibility, Philip and the author, Abby Mann, drove to Stratford on a matinee day to see Kate.  After the matinee, they went to her cottage.  She opened the door and Philip said politely “Kate, you have a lovely suntan!”  Kate said with her typical Locust Valley lockjaw accent—“That’s not a suntan, those are spots!” Looking back, Philip always wondered if he should have replied, “well, they do look wonderful on you!”

Kate agreed to look at the t.v. production, which she did at The Theatre Guild building on 53rd Street. She liked the teleplay enormously and decided to work diligently to make it into a film.

She sent the play to Spencer Tracy and she succeeded! Tracy sent it to Hollywood producer, Stanley Kramer, who produced it in 1961 with the most incredible cast for such a serious—and therefore risky—film.  Kramer persuaded all 9 film stars to take modest salaries.  The film was released in 1961.

Kramer was the Producer, Philip Langner the Associate Producer, and Abby Mann was the Screenwriter. The incredible cast included:

  • Spencer Tracy
  • Richard Widmark
  • Burt Lancaster
  • Marlene Dietrich
  • Max Schell
  • Montgomery Clift
  • Judy Garland
  • William Shatner
  • Warner Klemperer

Thus, one of the Great War films of all time was created.

And who got it done? Katharine Hepburn.

AND WHO WAS NEVER TOLD ABOUT HER TRIUMPH? The World. 

Judgment at Nuremburg was nominated for 11 Academy awards, winning 2 for Best Actor (Schell) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Mann). The film was recently entered into the Library of Congress National Film Registry.

Best regards,
Philip and Marilyn

PS—The discussion in this film on the subject of war is so important, and of course, it is wildly pertinent in today’s world with North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Yemen all hoping(?) for some war excitement.

And also: we bought a DVD of Judgement at Nuremberg at Amazon, which is currently for on sale for $12.00.  To order your copy, click here.

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More About Marlene…

I TALKED A LOT WITH MARLENE DIETRICH

marlene dietrich 2

We recently wrote about Marlene Dietrich’s 1930 film, Blue Angel, which we urged you to see. So interesting!

And today I’m telling you about Marlene, whom I got to know quite well during the filming of JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG, a manuscript I found and became one of its film producers.

During the course of the 12 weeks shooting of the film in Hollywood I spent every morning with Marlene in her dressing room talking and wiling/ away the hours waiting for her to be called.

And this is what is so surprising: Marlene’s thinking was totally antithetical to her glamorous image.

If you watch Blue Angel, you will see the real Marlene. She wanted no part of glamour. You see her as a down to earth regular woman, spending no time on makeup, dresses, and other fashion activities. I would say she wanted to be respected for her thoughts and actions.

So…when she was chosen out of hundreds of actresses to go to Hollywood and star in Morocco with Gary Cooper (1930), she had no idea she would turn into one of the two most glamorous stars ever seen on screen – the other being Greta Garbo.

It’s so ironic that the most sexy and gorgeous star was totally against her image. As we spent many mornings in her dressing room she wanted to talk about regular things, average happenings in the newspaper, or, indeed, the difficulties of the human race.

She was very interested in helping the poor, and spent much time writing letters and working to help people she knew, or who wrote to her about their problems

If aspects of her film persona came up, she would ridicule her costume requirements. And yet she was a total expert. She chose or created every aspect of her inimitable attire. She created Marlene Dietrich, The Glamor Queen of All Time.

Marlene Dietrich was a wonderful, lovely, caring person, and a great actress, but never wanting to be what the Hollywood image makers had decried for her.

Philip Langner

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The Blue Angel

Last weekend, Marilyn and I watched a fabulous classic film: The Blue Angel starring Marlene Dietrich and Emil Jannings produced in 1930.  The story follows an older professor, Jannings, as his life takes a downward twist when he falls in love with a nightclub singer (Dietrich).

Blue Angel

A bit of trivia (courtesy of IMBD): even though many women were considered for the role of Lola, the director (Josef von Sternberg) said that he hired Dietrich because of the “bored, world-weary attitude” she displayed in her audition, which was attributed to the fact that she assumed she was never going to get the part.

If you’re looking for a classic to watch this holiday weekend, brush up on your German because this would be a fabulous pick (just kidding—there are subtitles and even an English version, if you are so inclined!).   You can rent it from Amazon or Netflix.

It’s a great and fascinating film!

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Katharine Hepburn’s Unknown Triumph!

In 1960, a teleplay was performed on Playhouse 90. The program was called Judgment at Nuremburg, which was a somber and serious piece.

Philip Langner of The Theatre Guild, Inc. received a script “over the transom”—as they say about unknown scripts. The Guild directors liked the script and “knowing” its virtual impossibility as a film, decided—with the author’s agreement—to have a play written and to produce it on Broadway.

At the time, Katharine Hepburn was playing Antony & Cleopatra at the Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, CT. On a very remote possibility, Philip and the author, Abby Mann, drove to Stratford on a matinee day to see Kate.  After the matinee, they went to her cottage.  She opened the door and Philip said politely “Kate, you have a lovely suntan!”  Kate said with her typical Locus Valley lockjaw accent—“That’s not a suntan, those are spots!” Looking back, Philip always wondered if he should have replied, “well, they do look wonderful on you!”

Kate agreed to look at the t.v. production, which she did at the Theatre Guild building on 53rd Street. She liked the teleplay enormously and decided to work diligently to make it into a film.

She sent the play to Spencer Tracy and she succeeded! Tracy sent it to Hollywood producer, Stanley Kramer, who produced it in 1961 with the most incredible cast for such a serious—and therefore risky—film.  Kramer persuaded all 9 film stars to take modest salaries.  The film was released in 1961.

Kramer was the Producer, Philip Langner the Associate Producer, and Abby Mann was the Screenwriter. The incredible cast included:

  • Spencer Tracy
  • Richard Widmark
  • Burt Lancaster
  • Marlene Dietrich
  • Max Schell
  • Montgomery Clift
  • Judy Garland
  • William Shatner
  • Warner Klemperer

Thus, one of the Great War films of all time was created.

And who got it done? Katharine Hepburn.

AND WHO WAS NEVER TOLD ABOUT HER TRIUMPH? The World.

Judgment at Nuremburg was nominated for 11 Academy awards, winning 2 for Best Actor (Schell) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Mann). The film was recently entered into the Library of Congress National Film Registry.

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