Sunday, September 18, 2011

Marlene Dietrich in The Monte Carlo Story (1957)

Obscurity factor: 8

The debonair Count Della Fiaba (Vittorio De Sica) is down on his heels. His gambling has been bankrolled by friends who work in the hotel but he hasn't had a significant a win in several years and they're starting to lose faith. They worry about his future and convince him to find a wealthy wife. Coincidently, the Marquese de Crevecoeur (Dietrich) has just checked in to the hotel and is rumored to have a large fortune left to her by her late husband. She's glamorous, beautiful and cultured - a perfect mate for the Count. They begin a whirlwind courtship and decide to marry, until in a moment of pre-connubial  candor, both admit to being broke. Around the same time, the Count's residence - a modest yacht in the harbor - is damaged by an American millionaire (Arthur O'Connell) sailing into Monte Carlo on his yacht. He becomes the target of the Marquese and his daughter (Natalie Trundy) becomes obsessed with the Count. Will they settle down with the wealthy Americans or will the pull of shared European experience, circumstance and love win out?
Though not a brilliant film by any standards, The Monte Carlo Story has a certain old world charm to it. The characters are likable and kind to each other and the scenery and production values are glamorous and beautiful, with gowns by Jean Louis. Look for Jane Rose as the millionaire's sister.

This film has yet to be released on DVD and can be hard to find. It's occasionally aired on TCM. The clip above features Marlene's interpretation of "My Indiana Home" and was uploaded to YouTube by bloodmakesnois.

Obscurity factor: 8 (not on DVD, clips available on YouTube, known to Marlene fans)

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