Josef von Sternberg – Macao [+Extras] (1952)

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Synopsis:
A sultry night club singer, a man who has also traveled to many exotic ports and a salesman meet aboard ship on the 45-mile trip from Hong Kong to Macao. The singer is quickly hired by an American expatriate who runs the biggest casino in Macao and has a thriving business in converting hot jewels into cash. Her new boss thinks one of her traveling companions is a cop. One is — but not the one the boss suspects.

— IMDb. Continue reading

Josef von Sternberg – Blonde Venus (1932)

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Quote:
American chemist Ned Faraday marries a German entertainer and starts a family. However, he becomes poisoned with Radium and needs an expensive treatment in Germany to have any chance at being cured. Wife Helen returns to night club work to attempt to raise the money and becomes popular as the Blonde Venus. In an effort to get enough money sooner, she prostitutes herself to millionaire Nick Townsend. While Ned is away in Europe, she continues with Nick but when Ned returns cured, he discovers her infidelity. Now Ned despises Helen but she grabs son Johnny and lives on the run, just one step ahead of the Missing Persons Bureau. When they do finally catch her, she loses her son to Ned. Once again she returns to entertaining, this time in Paris, and her fame once again brings her and Townsend together. Helen and Nick return to America engaged, but she is irresistibly drawn back to her son and Ned. In which life does she truly belong? Continue reading

Josef von Sternberg & Jules Furthman – Jet Pilot (1957)

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John Wayne and Janet Leigh star in this military romance. Anna, Russian MIG pilot, escapes the USSR and lands on a US Air Force base in Alaska. There she meets Colonel Shannon, and after he debriefs her, the two become romantically involved and move to Palm Springs. Trouble arises when the US authorities discover that Anna is not really a defector but a Soviet spy. Army honchos decide to turn the tables by letting Shannon follow her back home and do some of his own espionage. But once there, Soviet forces endanger Shannon’s life — and Anna has to choose between her country and the man she has come to love. Continue reading

Josef von Sternberg – Anatahan AKA The Saga of Anatahan (1953)

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IMDB summary wrote:
Josef von Sternberg directed, photographed, provides the voice-over narration and wrote the screenplay (from a based-on-actual event novel by Michiro Maruyana translated by Younghill Kang)about twelve Japanese seaman who, in June 1944, are stranded on an abandoned-and-forgotten island called An-ta-han for seven years. The island’s only inhabitants are the overseer of the abandoned plantation and an attractive young Japanese woman. Discipline is represented by a former warrant officer but ends when he suffers a loss-of-face catastrophe. Soon, discipline and rationality are replaced by a struggle for power and the woman. Power is represented by a pair of pistols found in the wreckage of an American airplane, so important that five men pay for their lives in a bid for supremacy. Continue reading

Josef von Sternberg – Der Blaue Engel aka The Blue Angel (1930)

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Description: Immanuel Rath, an old bachelor, is a professor at the town’s university. When he discovers that some of his pupils often go into a speakeasy, The Blue Angel, to visit a dancer, Lola Lola, he comes there to confront them. But he is attracted to Lola. The next night he comes again–and does not sleep at home. This causes trouble at work and his life takes a downward spiral. Continue reading

Josef von Sternberg – Thunderbolt (1929)

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Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader wrote:
Except for The Saga of Anatahan, this 1929 release is probably the most underrated of Josef von Sternberg’s sound pictures, and it’s underrated for the same reason: Sternberg is known almost exclusively as a visual stylist, but the most exciting thing here is the highly creative sound track. It’s Sternberg’s first talkie–a near remake of Underworld, a spiritual romance about a doomed gangster, with the same lead (George Bancroft) and Fay Wray–and although this is a minority opinion, I find it better than the original in many ways. With Richard Arlen and Tully Marshall. Continue reading

Josef von Sternberg – The Last Command (1928)

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An extra is called upon to play a general in a movie about the Russian Revolution. However, he is not any ordinary extra. He is Serguis Alexander, former commanding general of the Russia armies who is now being forced to relive the same scene, which he suffered professional and personal tragedy in, to satisfy the director who was once a revolutionist in Russia and was humiliated by Alexander. It can now be the time for this broken man to finally “win” his penultimate battle. This is one powerful movie with meticulous direction by Von Sternberg, providing the greatest irony in Alexander’s character in every way he can. Jannings deserved his Oscar for the role with a very moving performance playing the general at his peak and at his deepest valley. Powell lends a sinister support as the revenge minded director and Brent is perfect in her role with her face and movements showing so much expression as Jannings’ love. All around brilliance. Continue reading