Obsession: Marlene Dietrich The Pierre Passebon Collection

By Henry-Jean Servat (Flammarion, 2017)

Cinematographer Lee Garmes won an Academy Award® for his work on Shanghai Express. This scene was lit by him, so Sternberg instructed English to capture the setup, and then to create variations of it. Pierre Passebon Collection, Photo: Don English (Supervised by Josef von Sternberg), 1932.

"We know God made trees

And the birds and the bees

And seas for the fishes to swim in

We are also aware,

That he had quite a flair

For creating exceptional women.


Now we all might enjoy

Seeing Helen of Troy

As a gay cabaret entertainer.

But I doubt that she could

Be one quarter as good

As our legendary, lovely


— Marlene, Noel Coward, 1954

© Don English (supervised by Joseph von Sternberg), 1932 from Obsession: Marlene Dietrich, The Pierre Passebon Collection (Flammarion, 2017).

1. Shanghai Express
Shanghai Express

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