by far the best gothic movie


I could hardly wait to get a dvd of this one. the scenery is so bizarre. imagine growing up in a place with tortured statues, swords and goblins sticking out everywhere. I love the fact they use an army of women to open the huge doors for her everywhere she goes.

and Marlene herself. they did an excellent job with lighting and hair to make her go from innocent to seductive. and her acting skills didn't hurt. she was sooo sexy in the scene where she visits the army men in their barracks, chewing on the hay to draw attention to her mouth.

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I laugh all the way through it. High camp at its very best.

The sets and lighting are great and, like everything else, delightfully over the top. I have to take exception to Dietrich as a wide-eyed ingenue, but once she realises that Being An Empress Can Be Fun.......yes sir, the hay-chewing in the barracks is worth the price of admission alone!


"Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!"

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and could they have made peter more bizarre?? what a hubby to be stuck with.

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Great film!! I finally saw The Scarlet Empress, and was extremely pleased. Can't say I've seen Marlene Dietrich more beautiful than she was in this film. Her performance was equaled by Sam Jaffe (whose appearance was laughable and frightening at the same time) and Louise Dresser. 'Scarlet' felt a bit campy, but it was visually stunning. I certainly plan on seeing more films of Dietrich and von Sternberg soon.

"Dry your eyes baby, it's out of character."

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"'Scarlet' felt a bit campy, but it was visually stunning."

For me, a rare film in which much of the acting is awful, the storyline preposterous in terms of historical accuracy and dialogue which could have been written by a twelve year-old. I DON'T CARE! The visuals are so superb, so hypnotic (agree with one poster that the hay-chewing scene in the barn is worth the price of admission) and so well done that I've seen this one more times than I can remember. The fiery music is also a help. If not a great film, certainly GREAT * fun *. Despite the flaws, 10/10

'We're not in Medford now. We're in a hurry.'

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As others have said, the storyline and dialogue has a lot to be desired but the cinemaphotography makes up for it. This film has such an ethereal beauty to it and Dietrich never looked more beautiful. I suggest if you watch it on DVD to watch the rare BBC Josef von Sternberg interview.

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GREAT film? How about horribly dated, campy mess?

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There are too many moments I enjoy in this film! Dietrich's survey of the troops gets all the attention it deserves; however, Dietrich also gives Peter's mistress a naughty once-over after the slag threatens her. Hand to the chin, then a puckered smirk, not breaking her stare as she leaves the room. AH!

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I'd say it was far more baroque than Gothic. Indeed, Byzantine might be the best description.

I love this movie, just got myself a copy yesterday, after having seen it many years ago.

It's mesmeric. Dietrich is radiant.



He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!

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My favorite scene is when Peter drills a hole into his mother bedroom and we see the drill come out of the eye in the painting. I also love his mother reaction to it, complaining about too much ventilation!


- This comment is most likely authentic and fairly close to what I intended to say -

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Right you are. Just saw the film again. Thanks for the correction.


- No animal was hurt during the making of this burger -

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What an amazing film. It is my favorite Sternberg film and that's saying a lot! This film came out the same year Hollywood enforced the Hays code. Thank God it was not made a year later!


- No animal was hurt during the making of this burger -

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This movie is really gorgeous! Wonderful costumes, scenery, and cinematography.
The art direction, with all the candles and the grotesque sculptures, is fantastic and bizarre. Some of the dialoge and acting is hilarious, but it doesn't matter. Count Alexai can escort me through Prussia anytime!

Love is the best, most insidious, most effective instrument of social repression

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I've never seen this till last night and I've never seen anything like it! Everything was SO over the top! Fabulous! I watched the movie after it on TCM, "Rasputin and the Empress" and TSE made THAT movie look like it was made on a "Plan 9 From Outer Space" budget of $100. Poor old Ethel Barrymore's little fur hat and coat looked like my grandma's, and the Russian palace look filmed on location in a church basement.

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I felt the same way! That movie had no chance after watching "The Scarlet Empress!" Anything else had to be disappointing. They should have just shown it twice!

Love is the best, most insidious, most effective instrument of social repression

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I hope TCM shows The Scarlet Empress again, I have to see this again. (I will fire up the old gas-powered old-fashioned VCR, should we be so lucky!) Maybe just break down and buy it!!

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Out of many moments are the grotesque visuals of a man hung upside down inside a huge bell with his head being used as a ringer, along with the insane executioner with the huge ax chopping off head after head after head in a mad romp.

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