Thursday 15 September 2011

Falling in Love Again

By the time we knew it the Hippodrome, or the Coventry Theatre as it had then become, had seen somewhat better days. Rather as a beached whale, all that remained of this triumph of Art Deco architecture, dating from 1937, was a landmark of peeling stucco and rusting ironwork towering over a wasteland of dereliction and decay.

the former Hippodrome Theatre, Coventy [click to enlarge all images]

Already the writing was on the wall, both metaphorically and literally, and soon the lights would be dimmed, briefly to be relit for a short period as a Bingo Hall, before being extinguished for evermore. But of the time of which we write, the early 1970s, it still clung to some vestiges of its former glory. Indeed, about then we had attended a wonderful production of Monteverdi's 'The Coronation of Poppea' given, most likely, by the Welsh National Opera.  Of this, though, we cannot be sure.

But of the final European Tour of Marlene Dietrich we are certain and now, nearly forty years later, the memories come flooding back. We had seats in the orchestra stalls, in an auditorium capable of seating, strangely, 2001, and where, along with the moth and the mould, we were joined by a handful of Coventrians, among them the curious, the cynical and, delightfully, the half-crazed. In total we numbered no more than thirty at the most.

Marlene Dietrich, possibly at the height of her long career

Silver lamé, swathed in fox fur, concealing a heavy reliance on body sculpting under garments, was Miss Dietrich's mode of attire which, with newly peroxide hair and careful stage lighting, did much to disguise her seventy or more years. Sadly, her rendering of 'Where Have All the Flowers Gone?', punctuated with dramatic pauses, relied all too heavily on audible prompts and sips of what we took to be gin.

But we should not, perhaps, remember her in those last years when she had, as has been said, become "a prisoner of her own legend".

Marlene Dietrich playing a cameo role in Orson Welles' 'Touch of Evil'

Rather, we choose to think of her at the height of her career, not least for the small but significant role played in the 1958 classic film of Orson Welles, 'Touch of Evil'. There, with all of her fabled beauty, steeped in glamour and with that so famous, husky voice she was, indeed, truly a star.

And tonight, once more, as we hear that voice again from across the years pulsating to the strains of 'Lili Marleen', we think fondly of the once great Marlene Dietrich, and, not with a little pride, recall how all those years past she touched momentarily upon our lives.


  1. It's too bad about wonderful buildings falling into decay, I guess the cost to restore them is prohibitive, but to have seen Marlene Dietrich was something to remember for sure even with a little gin.

  2. Linda Starr:
    That whole area in Coventry where the theatre was has now been redeveloped as a transport museum but does not, in our view, have the same presence as the Art Deco 'Hippodrome'.

    More than a little gin, Linda, was in evidence on that evening!

  3. i love thise kind of buildings!
    by the way, im reading now a book about greta garbo =)

  4. Akissfromthepast:
    Art Deco is a style that we like very much too. Sad that it is no more.

    Greta Garbo another glamorous star!!

  5. Good Morning Jane and Lance

    You have scored again, architecture,personal history and art as a subject matter touches the soul.Marlene is in her prime in that picture from 1958, such beauty and that face and eyes hold one.

    Such beautiful memories you have of having seen her in person and the Hippidrone invites the question "if the walls could talk".

    I am off to listen to the Welsh National Opera, thank you for this enlightening post.
    Helen xx

  6. Helen Tilston:
    We are so pleased that you like the photograph too. We find it spellbinding.

    We shall never forget that night with Marlene, tawdriness all around but somehow her star quality shone brightly through. No doubt that the gin helped!!

    The Welsh National remain one of our favourite opera companies...enjoy!!

  7. Dear Jane and Lance,
    Isn't it a shame that such beautiful theatres were demolished? The beautiful Art Deco details were stunning, even in the smallest cinemas in suburbia. I think that one of the first films that I went to see with my sister and Mum and Dad was ' Around The World In 80 Days' in a cinema where we lived. It was called The Queen's and, we sat in a plush red velvet box and I remember sitting open-mouthed, taking in the opulent surroundings.
    How fantastic to be able to say that you actually saw Marlene Dietrich 'in the flesh'.It's just a shame that some of the Hollywood Legends never know when to step down. Did she still have that presence about her when you saw her or, had time taken it's toll ? XXXX

  8. Jacqueline@HOME:
    How wonderful that you saw a film in the cinema from the luxury of a a velvet lined box. Splendid!!

    Sadly,the years had definitely taken their toll when we saw Marlene in the silver lamé....very little flesh was on view on that occasion. As we understand, not very long after her appearance in the UK she fell from a stage in Sydney and that, as they say, was that!!

  9. I wish that all these old buildings could be restored to their former glory, it is so sad to see them crumble away. They all have so many wonderful memories.
    I would love to have seen Marlene Dietrich even if she was sipping gin and being a little forgetful :-) Diane

  10. Super photo of Marlene in her prime. It is always a toss up whether or not to go and see a huge star in the very late twilight of their careers...

    Such a shame about the building--Deco is a superb style -- the Chrysler building in NY is probably my all time favorite; though the Hoover building London is pretty fabulous too.

  11. Goodmorning to you both.I love the art deco as well.Even though should I say I do have a bit of eclectic in me,lol.Im not familiar with Marlene Dietrich,but I did love the description you wrote of her.I do remember the voice,always reminded me of a heavy smoker of which she probably was.I just got an idea to read a bit about Greta Garbo,I think she was very interesting.She may just be the next blog I post.

    Have a lovely weekend both of you!

  12. Food, Fun and Life in the Charente:
    Yes, we have talked about that evening with Marlene Dietrich on many occasions. However wobbly the performance, there was still a magic about her..... the star quality was still lingering on!!!

  13. Niall and Antoinette:
    We always think it rather strange that we should have seen Marlene in Coventry of all places, but, all these years later, we are still pleased that we did.

    Art Deco we agree is a wonderful architectural style and we are lucky to be surrounded by glorious examples of Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Bauhaus in Budapest, all of which we love.

  14. Becky:
    Drink and cigarettes were, most probably, the usual diet for Marlene Dietrich and certainly the husky, sexy voice was testament to this.

    Greta Garbo was another legend of the silver screen and, in our view, all these Hollywood stars had such glamour which their modern day equivalents rarely match.

  15. How brilliant and wonderful that only a few were in the audience! Such an intimate concert by one of the greats!

    I loved Dietrich in so many things and "witness for the Prosecution" was one of my favourites. What most people see as a decline in Dietrich's career, I see it as a wonderful legend soldiering on no matter what the odds!

    Alas all too sadly these wonderful palaces of art deco and social gatherings have fallen under the wrecker's ball.

  16. She was wonderful. I believe when she performed here in Melbourne, she fell off the stage and broke her leg. Care for another gin? I can't immediately find a reference to confirm. She was behind so much gauze in her in last film? Just a Gigolo, she was almost unrecognisable. I read recently that when she entertained the allied troops during WWII, she was extremely generous with her 'personal' favours. My favourite film with her starring was Witness for the Prosecution. Even in these cynical days, the revelation quite shocks.

    I don't recall seeing much in the way of Art Deco in England, but there is still plenty in Australia. It is my favourite architectural style, internal and external.

  17. David Toms:
    Thinking back now, it really all seems rather surreal. Everything was crumbling, including the legendary Marlene, but yet, the magic of the evening has remained with us ever since.

    We must admit to never having seen 'Witness for the Prosecution' so that is a little treat which we have now promised to ourselves. All we need are the red plush seats and, gin and tonics in hand, we can transport ourselves back to the days of our youth!

  18. Andrew:
    We think that it was Sydney where she fell from the stage but there were, we believe, several other instances of broken bones on or off some stage or another. Sadly, this happened rather too frequently at the end. However, she did live to be 90!!

    Flattering lighting was a watchword for MD and, these days, we can understand all too well why this is a good idea!!

    Art Deco, Bauhaus and Art Nouveau styles abound here too in Budapest and, fortunately, a programme of restoration to preserve the most vulnerable and noteworthy buildings is evident.

  19. How amazing. You can tell from the images of the Hippodrome that ever nuance added to the overall awe of the place. Smiling at Dietrich in her 70s in silver lame glory - and am suddenly picturing Madonna doing much the same. Helen will opt for a robe and wooly socks at that age. We can only hope.

  20. I love the style of Art Deco buildings. We have what was a rather grand cinema in our local town. Thankfully saved from the bulldozer a few years ago it still towers over the town in all its angular glory, albeit as a giant bed and sofa store!

    As for Marlene Dietrich - just saying her name conjures up an age of glamour, style and beauty. How amazing that you were able to see her in such a small group. lucky you!

  21. Hello both,

    I bet you are so glad to have this wonderful tale to share, even if the happy ending didn't quite pan out for the building and the superstar.
    For me, Marlene has been just an iconic image in magazines and newspapers - not even a 'real' person. The photographs told the story of a strong, imposing and almost haughty lady, one 'not to be messed with'.
    So many stars struggle to deal with the soaring highs and crushing lows life throws at them. The same can be said for the buildings they perform in.
    I'm glad you're both sober enough to share the fascinating stories with us!

  22. DearHelenHartman:
    Yes, the Hippodrome was a great 'cruise liner' of a place and never did sit easily in its surroundings. But, far more glamorous than the transport museum which takes its place these days!!

    No, dear Helen, you protest too much....woolly socks and a bathrobe......never. You will be a trooper to the end, all glitzy gladrags, teetering heels and a gigantic Martini...and, where you lead,......!!!!!

  23. Vintage Jane:
    We are so pleased that your cinema [albeit now a bed store]has enjoyed a stay of execution. So many have not and towns and cities the country over are poorer as a result we think.

    A surreal occasion in more ways than one, but certainly highly memorable!!

  24. Today, in a time of less money to preserve, famous and historical landmarks are being torn down to be replaced by parking lots. There is much more money to be made in parking spaces. To see these buildings being demolished is sad, but C'est la vie.

    I really enjoyed the Marlene Dietrich You Tube video. I wish I knew where she got her body sculpting under garments. I could use something like that.

    It has been over a week since your last post and I was becoming concerned. Hope all is well.

  25. I guess I cannot now aspire to be present at a Marlene Dietrich concert, but I will learn from my losses and resolve to follow you both round, Jane and Lance, so that I too may meet all these interesting people. The low-slung dark car edging inconspicuously out from the verge 100 metres behind you whenever you leave the house will contain me and my night-vision glasses. I shall be wearing my pearls and a tippet, ever-hopeful of an introduction.

  26. I can't get your wonderfully vivid description of Marlene up on stage 'sipping' her way through Where Have all the Flowers Gone" out of my head. You two have quite a masterful writing style---great post.

  27. There’s no much more building like that in the world. There’s no much more building like that in the world.

  28. Lucewoman:
    Marlene Dietrich was, indeed, a powerful force on and off screen both in terms of her talent and in terms of her anti-war message. She overcame tremendous personal difficulties, she was a cancer survivor,and really was the consummate professional artist of her day.

    But, as you say, the pressures of stardom are so very great and can become overwhelming and, in the end, her alcoholism was her undoing. Perhaps there are many parallels with modern day performers and perhaps there always will be. So sad.

  29. It is so sad to see icons stripped bare of their former status and popular adoration whether it be buildings or stars and what a shame if they are remembered as bingo halls or has-beens.

    Thank you, as always, for a thought provoking piece.

  30. How wonderful that you saw Die Dietrich! She had a truly amazing career spanning 50 years by adjusting herself to fit the times and opportunities. What a run!

    I stopped by Marlene's grave on Monday afternoon to pay my respects.

  31. Starting Over, Accepting Changes:
    Oh dear, the idea of car parks replacing so many wonderful buildings is a thought we find very sad but, regrettably true. Live theatre seems to be declining rapidly as a form of entertainment and so we do wonder what wil become of these most iconic of landmarks.

    We are with you on the body sculpting under garments and the carefully positioned more standing under neon strip lights for us!!!

    Thank you for your concern, Arleen. We decided to make the most of the good weather we still continue to have in Hungary and spent some days at Lake Balaton watching the sailing boats drift by.....another post, another day!!!!

  32. Mise:
    We are agreed that you think correctly about the 'live' MD concert!! However, we should gladly take you along to any other soirées that we should feel you might enjoy or might be part of the Dali-esque experience which is our life!!!!

    Night vision glasses and the dark sedan would, therefore,not be needed. The pearls and tippet would do beautifully. And, dear Mise, if you should have a pot or two of your homemade yogurt handy that would be perfect.....for the interval, of course!!!!

  33. Sue/the view from great island:
    Thank you so much for your generous comment.

    We loved the videos, indeed, the first had an uncanny resemblance to our night in the Hippodrome. Our favourite, however, is Lili Marleen and we were very tempted to have it playing out uncontrollably from the blogpost..but then thought better of it!!

  34. Indonesiatooverseas:
    We are fortunate that, in Budapest, there are many fine examples of Art Deco buildings still in existence. Perhaps you might be fortunate to visit Hungary one day and see them? We do hope so.

  35. What a wonderful story. Sometimes old buildings are meant only to remain in memories and yours is wonderful. I love the Art Deco period and have a few furniture pieces from that era. The graceful waterfall lines are so distinctive. Thank you for sharing your memory.

  36. Your post today reminded me of how I loved the history in my travels through Europe. As a US citizen it humbled me as I was reminded how truly young we were as a country.
    Thank you for sharing the art, history and architecture that you do.
    I love it.

  37. This looks like it was a spectacular structure... what a shame it is no longer with us.

  38. Anna at the Doll House:
    Yes, there is a sadness when 'grandes dames' such as the Hippodrome or Marlene pass their prime and there is no-one to save them. Still, both enjoyed fantastic success in their hey-days and that is how we like to remember them.

  39. LX:
    And, how wonderful that you are in Berlin!! How we should love to be there.

    We agree, MD did have a marvellously successful run and was quite adept at, chameleon-like,fitting the moods and the times in which she found herself. All credit to her in our view.

    And, did you leave flowers....?

  40. It’s a shame that such a beautiful architecture can’t be preserved. I haven't known well Marlene Dietrich as an actor but as a singer of Lili Marleen. Her singing voice was impressive. I’ve been saddened to see my familiar stars passing by one by one both in the world and in Japan. I think I know how you feel. Stars come and go, and she was surely one of the bright stars and still so now in people’s heart with her deserved fame.

    Have happy days ahead, Jane and Lance.

  41. Xoxo:
    We agree that the Art Deco period is so marvellously fluid in its lines, a favourite period for us too.

    Although we did not witness them face to face,we like to remember both the Hippodrome and Marlene Dietrich at their zeniths. Icons of their time and remarkable each in their own way.

  42. This theater reminds me of the one in the very charming 1957 movie, The Smallest Show on Earth. One of the most touching scenes in any film was the one here in which the old-timers screened the silent movies to evoke their memories and nostalgia.
    --Road to Parnassus

  43. I can hear her saying, "Darling!" like no one else could say it. Thanks for sharing, Richard from My Old Historic House.

  44. Cheryl:
    Thank you, Cheryl, for your kind and generous comment. We do find it fascinating to see all the connections and influences that run throughout Europe in terms of its cultural, architectural and historical development over many centuries.

    We very much want to visit the USA, a country about which sadly we know so little and about which we wish to learn so much more. One day....!!

  45. JWC:
    The Hippodrome was indeed spectacular and only demolished in 2001. We certainly preferred it to the Transport Museum which is now in its place.

  46. I see intriguing parallels/metaphors in the stages of life of the Hippodrome and Ms. Dietrich when you saw them. Fallen glamour. Such an amazing image of 30 or so of you with her in a theatre built for 2001 and you have beautifully evoked the scene.

  47. Stardust:
    Yes, as you say, although it is sad when our stars fade and die, nevertheless, there are some and for us they would include Marlene Dietrich, who live on in one's heart and in one's memories.

    She did have, in our view, formidable presence and talent. Instantly recognisable and, yet, always bringing something new to every song she sang, she was a spectacular and inspiring performer.

    Wishing you, Yoko, a lovely weekend!!

  48. Parnassus:
    The scene you describe so beautifully here so perfectly captures our mood in writing this post. It was as if we were back in the red plush seats and that smokey voice was entertaining us once more. Nostalgia indeed!!

  49. Richard Cottrell:

    When Marlene Dietrich looked at you and spoke it was as if there was no-one else in the world!

  50. Jen of Country Weekend:
    Although completely unaware at the time of the connections to be drawn between the tawdry theatre and its fading star, in writing the post, the parallels as you so rightly say, were there all along. But, in listening to Marlene's songs, we can so easily be whisked away to happier times when Hollywood legends never did grow old or die!!!

  51. That would have broken my heart. SOmetimes it's best to remember people as they were in their prime.

    The only real job I ever had was between college and grad school working for a cruise line for a year. I worked in personnel and handled artists and passenger-centric crew members (like dancers who danced with single passengers).

    One day, I was seeing off a round the world cruise and the ship was next to the QEII. I turned around and was nose to nose with Merle Oberon... one of the most beautiful creatures in the world... once. Her face was like a sheet of cardboard. I pray I didn't gasp in horror but I think I did. It took years to wash that image out of my brain. I decided then and there NEVER to have a facelift!!!! Now that image is faded and the Merle of the 30's is what remains. That is how I will think of her.

  52. "And, did you leave flowers....?"

    No, placed a small rock on her headstone instead.

  53. Lostpastremembered:
    What a delightful story of your chance encounter with Merle Oberon. Perhaps she could have thought that your gasp was one of wonder rather than horror? We hope so.

    As you say, perhaps it is best to just remember our icons at their peak. But, just like you and the day nose to nose with MO, we shall never forget that night with MD, only a gin separating us!!!

  54. It's always more than a little sad when stars perform noticeably beyond their prime. My grandmother visited Paris in the early 1900s and witnessed such a performance by Sarah Bernhardt, who got pelted with vegetables that evening. What was telling, of course, was that the Parisians had brought veggies!

  55. Mark D. Ruffner:
    Well, how extraordinary! First, that your grandmother should have seen a performance by Sarah Bernhardt and secondly, that the audience should have been so badly disposed [and behaved] towards her. As you say, clearly they had come armed with vegetables...well, we suppose that this could only happen in Paris!!!

  56. A very thought provoking post Jane and Lance. I remember the Hippodrome fondly but although my memories like yours are musical, the music is different.

    I almost hesitate to mention the fact, such is the wonderful atmosphere of your post, but I saw David Bowie perform as "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" here in I think 1972.

    The following visit to watch AC-DC saw the two balconies shown in your top photo shaking up and down, such was the fervour of the audience! Ralph Mctell was another concert we attended, a more modest performance.

    I didn't know the theatre had gone, very sad, but progress is, if nothing else, relentless.

  57. Jane and Lance,
    What a most wonderful picture of faded glories you pen with this post. I feel the remark stated about “The Dietrich” (a prisoner of her own legend) also applies to the grander buildings of the Art Deco style. They are so firmly planted in, “a place”, and “a time”, that we have lost so many because the uniqueness they exuded when new, in later years worked against them, alas prisoners of their on legends. - gary

  58. How fabulous that you saw Dietrich perform. I think that her performance fuelled by gin is in the end probably more memorable and interesting than if it was done word/ tone perfect.
    As ever, great post.
    And i hope your holiday break was good and you are now refreshed.


  59. Andy:
    We are thrilled to know that you have fond memories of the Hippodrome too. Well, we have to say that seeing David Bowie in the 1970s as Ziggy Stardust is most definitely in our view an iconic piece of music history.

    On balance, we think that we should have found the bouncing balcony unnerving rather than exciting and are eternally grateful that the occupants of the orchestra stalls alongside us were much better behaved for dear MD. Indeed, the only badbehaviour in thehouse that night seemed to come from Miss Dietrich herself!!Those were the days.

    Yes, after a brief spell as the Gala Bingo Hall, the theatre closed around 2001 we think. Today the Transport Museum stands on the site of the old Hippodrome. It doesn't have the same magic about it to us!!!

  60. Gary:
    What an interesting idea you pose here. Perhaps, as you say, all icons, human and material are prisoners of their own legends? Still, to create any kind of legend in a lifetime is a great achievement we think and memories can always be set in a Golden Age!!!

  61. I remember hearing about the Hippodrome, I didn't realized it had come to its demise.....sad in a way.


  62. Boye by Red:
    We are sure, with hindsight, that the gin was vital to any performance at all!! However, we cannot deny that this was an evening that we have not only remembered over the years but have told the story of so many times we have lost count. A one-off in every possible sense!

    Thank you, we did enjoy our few days away. Lake Balaton is known as the Hungarian seaside as it is the largest lake in Europe. The weather was very hot and the sailing boats, coffee and ice cream wonderful. We do hope that your return to work has not been too awful!!!

  63. Barbara F:
    Looking back, we do feel that the Coventry Theatre was deserving of rescue, especially in a city so badly bombed in the war and with relatively few buildings left of any great architectural merit.

  64. But it is sad. Decay haunts us from buildings and memories, as to remind us that nothing is forever.

  65. Dear Jane & Lance,

    What a shame that such an impressive Art Deco building was demolished all those years ago. There is something about those buildings that I like. I think it must be the period too! So different from the way it is now. I enjoyed seeing the amazing Art Deco houses & interiors in the Hercule Poirot series.

    Ah Marlene Dietrich. I recently read an article about her. She was not a very friendly lady..... She did have style though.

    Have a lovely weekend,


  66. Pet:
    Yes, you are right. Decay and change are all around. Seize the day!!

  67. Maelief:
    Yes, Art Deco architecture plays an important part in the Agatha Christie's Poirot films. The building used as Poirot's home is in Charterhouse Square near the Barbican in London, although whether the interiors are in the same building we are not certain. We love this period too, the architecture and the clothes are so elegant.

    Well, we have to say, that we did not know Marlene Dietrich personally and so have no idea whether she was a friendly type or not!!! We can verify, however, that she was definitely drunk on that night in the Coventry Theatre and were not surprised to hear that she fell off a stage in a subsequent performance. How the mighty fall!!!!

    We hope that you too have a lovely weekend!

  68. Hi Hattatts,

    This post really caught my eye as coincidentally I'm currently reading Steven Bach's excellent biography of Marlene Dietrich; life and legend. What a treat to have seen the great star in person. I remember seeing some of the televised cabaret shows she did towards the end of her career. She still had great presence even though her talents were on the wain.

  69. ...the woman we bought our house from did an amazing imitation of Marlene Dietrich...(she has passed as well...)i think Marlene was often imitated...her voice had a sexy huskiness...and that accent was fortunate for you to see her in such an intimate setting....

  70. Dr Rob Rob:
    What a coincidence! Great minds....!!

    We do not know of Steven Bach's biography of the great Marlene D. but we shall certainly be on the look out for it once back in the UK.

    Yes, we agree about her stage presence.Amazing, even through the haze of gin!!

  71. Today, before I saw your post, Jane and Lance, I was thinking of Marlene Dietrich because I was commenting on a blog post which featured WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION and a film clip.

    Dietrich plays the wronged woman of effective disguises.

    In fact, she looked, in part of the movie, much like that photo you post of her in TOUCH OF EVIL.

    Today is Agatha Christie's birthday, hence the mention of one of Christie's more successful short stories/play/movie.

  72. Mermaid Gallery:
    Well, we are sure that the great Marlene Dietrich had many imitators, but how extraordinary that you should buy your house from someone who did such impersonations!! We can but wonder which song your seller burst forth into as she handed over the key!!!

    As for MD's marvellously sexy,smokey voice....the stuff of legend!!

  73. Yvette:
    And yet more coincidences! We had not realised that 'Witness for the Prosecuton' was written by Agatha Christie and, for many, MD's role in this was a favourite performance of her stage career.

    We understand that Orson Welles had insisted on a wig for her part in 'Touch of Evil' as he did not like blondes!!! Strange, sad world.

    Timea, our housekeeper, was delighted to know that today was Agatha Christie's birthday as she is a devotee!!

  74. Oh this post made me sad to no end! I know that it was far from your intention but to hear again that la belle Marlene actually performed to thirty in a dusty hall just kills me, from the point of view of a former comedienne. No wonder she was drunk. But at her her prime...she was...wonderful, non?

  75. even you `ve seen her in not at her best fase of her exciting llife. you are blessed my friends. you are blessed

  76. Lost in Provence:
    Without a doubt, Marlene in her prime was truly magnificent. Such presence, such style, such a voice.

    And yes, we can fully appreciate the need for her to be drunk in order to have faced the Coventry audience, but yet, there was still a magic about her, an aura which has lasted until today.

  77. Demie:
    As we look back on that evening, we do indeed feel as if we were part of history in the making. A moment like no other and which would never return in our lifetimes.

  78. Hello Jane and Lance,
    a sign of her endurance that Marlene Dietrich was prepared to tour well past her prime...she must have been aware of the exqisite irony. Such presence you don't see in our thousands of celebubodies today. Stars like her were able to mesmerise. Thankyou for the time-travel.

  79. Gardener in the Distance:
    We think that you are right, Faisal, and that she did see the 'exquisite irony'of her appearance that night. We like to think so, anyway!

    Whatever, she was a trooper with real stage presence and the ability to deliver a song with power and tenderness at the same time. A real star, as you say.

  80. So sad to see wonderful old buildings left to decay. I often read stories of the Hippodrome.

    In my twenties I had a book on style; Marlene Dietrick was pictured in the front as the personification of style. I found her to be so dramatic, and as a young woman, I loved drama.

  81. Bonnie:
    It is, we agree, so very sad to see buildings of merit just allowed to become derelict and, often, not replaced with anything better.

    Marlene Dietrich was incredibly stylish in our view and, certainly, very dramatic in both looks and actions.

  82. What a beautiful building it once was.
    I too agree with the comment @Madelief about Hercule Poirot, besides the Art Deco style The International style was used one I like even more.
    I adore the movie "Witness For The Prosecution"

    cheers, parsnip

  83. Dear Jane & Lance - how nice to have you back from your sojourn at Lake Balaton.
    What an experience to remember, having seen the great Marlene Dietrich, even if she was the worse for wear. Many times, it is the case that celebrities and politicians do not know when it is time to give up, and end up sullying their reputations.

  84. I never knew of this theatre. Poor Coventry. It could be a lot better than it now is, if it was just taken a pride in. There is some wonderful 1950s stuff there, at least.

    How sad that so many art deco gems gave up the ghost just a little bit too soon to be saved. Actually, not just art deco, but lots of wonderful quirky buildings were got rid of. I think that Brighton, where you live, has suffered quite a bit? I seem to remember a really wonderful large Gothick style house not far from the theatre. I think it used to be some kind of a schoolroom. It was very striking and was demolished to be replaced with ...a car park. And I think the car park was built on later. (Sorry if this sounds vague, but I'm not too hot on the street names - perhaps I can dig it out of a reference book somewhere). About ten years ago, in Montpelier, or down by the main road there, I admired a baby brother of the Royal Pavilion - an early 19th cent. villa with domes. It was in poor condition. Is that still there, I wonder?

    As for Marlene, she always seemed like someone from the past. That first picture you use of her is truly stunning.

  85. I love hearing stories like this! One of those nights to remember, for sure! I'm a fan of Art Deco too, it's unfortunate those old buildings ended up not being properly cared for.

  86. Greeting Jane and Lance,
    Thank you for sharing your stroll down memory lane and the treasured memories within this very thoughtful article.
    This time, I leave you with a very succinct comment.
    With respect and kind wishes, Gary

  87. I don't mind the theatre being redeveloped and used as a transport museum, but I do mind terribly if the original exterior wasn't renovated back to its former splendour. You don't show the inside ... does the interior still look Deco and glamorous?

  88. 'all that remained of this triumph of Art Deco architecture, dating from 1937, was a landmark of peeling stucco and rusting ironwork towering over a wasteland of dereliction and decay.'

    Evocative writing throughout this post, but what a grand opener.

    Kind of you to choose to foster a memory of Dietrich at her heights and not like the current state of the magnificent structure celebrated, here.

    Incidentally, I'm quite enamored of the description of her attire. (Not necessarily the ensemble efforts themselves, but the description is exquisite.)

  89. I have never been a big fan of Marlene Dietrich. But after your post I think it is time to revisit some of her movies and perhaps "rediscover" her.

    Meeting people we knew in our youth is sometimes a sad thing, the changes of time are not often kind. A few weeks ago I met a boy (man now!!) that I was his first grade teacher. I have taken you reply to Lostpastremembered to heart and will now think that his "gasp was one of wonder rather than horror" at the changes time has brought about in me!! He was quite surprised when I tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he was Bobby Reese (it's Bob now of course!).

    As always your post is most enjoyable!


  90. Your posts always stir such wonderful memories. I haven't been to this building but it must have been amazing...and of course I know for sure that Marlena was amazing!

  91. angryparsnip:
    Unfortunately we never knew the Hippodrome in its full glory and it seems to us now how very short sighted of the Coventry City authorities to have allowed its demolition.

    'Witness for the Prosecution' does appear to have been a favourite film where Marlene Dietrich is concerned.

  92. Rosemary:
    Thank you. We had a wonderful time at the Balaton doing very little but enjoying the most glorious weather.

    You are absolutely right about politicians, and 'celebrities' too, not knowing when they are past their sell-by date!

  93. Jenny Woolf:
    We always felt that the problem with Coventry stems from the immediate post war years when it was determined to be among the first cities to rebuild. Neither the architecture, nor the materials used, in our view, has stood the test of time. This, sadly, goes for the cathedral too.

    Brighton too has fared badly over the years although we we do not know it well enough, having only had a flat there comparatively recently, to judge how much which should have been kept has now gone. Tucked behind some of the buildings along the Western Road there are a number of architectural treasures which are deserving of better treatment.

    There do, however, remain some stunning images of a young Marlene Dietrich.

  94. LR @ Magnificent or Egregious:
    Yes, it is strange how some occasions remain clearly in the mind years after having, it would seem, made a deep impression at the time.

    Nowadays, we believe, the Hippodrome would be a listed building and its future secured. Alas, in this case too late.

  95. klahanie:
    We are not quite sure what revived the memories of that particular night, Gary, which we had not thought about for years. Perhaps it was seeing a photograph of MD in a café here in Budapest only very recently.

  96. Hels:
    Unfortunately, somewhere about 2000/2001 the entire building was pulled down and today, apart from the transport museum on the site, absolutely nothing remains. And this in a city which has very few buildings of distinction.

  97. Suze:
    How very kind of you to comment in this way. It is much appreciated and no more so than from a writer. Thank you.

    Marlene Dietrich was, indeed, something of a legend and, we believe, is likely to remain so. Sadly, at the time in which we saw her, she was no longer able to sing and perform as she once had. But, by the way, if you have not seen 'Touch of Evil' then we really do recommend it to you. The opening shots are cinema at its very best.

  98. Sissysmom:
    Somehow we never quite see ourselves as changing and, whilst we appreciate that we have become older, we do not really feel that different. It is, therefore, something of a shock to realise that to others we are not the same people at all that we once were, or at least as they knew us or thought of us.

    If you have never seen 'Touch of Evil' then, as we have said to Suze [above], we really do recommend it.

  99. La Vie Quotidienne:
    Just occasionally something stirs in the memory and so it was with us, perhaps having seen a photograph of Marlene Dietrich in a Budapest café only very recently. Whatever, she created a reputation which has, to date, endured. Will it be the same for some of today's celebrities? We think not!

  100. What amazing experiences you have had -- and still have -- in your lives. Thanks for sharing this.

  101. Mitch Block:
    It was, indeed, all somewhat of a long time ago but s photograph of Marlene Dietrich in a Budapest café seen a week ago served as a reminder of that particular occasion.

  102. What a legend. Sad, though, that some become almost caricatures of themselves. Fame is destructive to many. People often forget who they really are, or were.

    I love all things Art Deco. That building must have been quite a place in its day. Even in its dereliction it was probably very interesting.

    You definitely aren't cynical, so might you be the curious or the delightfully half-crazed? :)

  103. Style Diaries:
    Yes, we should agree that she was something of an iconic figure and one which will not easily be forgotten.

  104. Teresa Evangeline:
    Teresa, you are absolutely right when you say that fame is 'destructive to many'. Sadly, there are so many examples to call upon, both in the past and more recently.

    Now, what an interesting question you pose and one which, foolishly, we had not considered! On balance we should like to feel that, on that occasion, we were among the half-crazed - perhaps our natural homeland!!

  105. A sadness sweeps over me at the crumbling and dereliction of many if these super impressive buildings. Much like the old cinema just over the Stein here in Brighton, which may soon be pulled down for yet more offices. Sure it's been empty since the bingo people closed down, but it's like a wonderful bridge into history.

    Its only later in years that I've felt things like that, just like appreciating such talents as Ms Dietrich. But, I suppose the old adage, better late then never rings true. Such a beauty, such a voice, such a legend.

    have a wonderful weekend.

  106. Oh, I do so love your posts! I love Marlene Dietrich and recently saw for the first time, a wonderful film that shows the legend at her very best -- no not Witness for the Prosecution, which is indeed a very fine film, but 'Destry Rides Again' in which she starred with an equally very young Jimmy Stewart.

    I do love Art Deco -- When I was a girl going to the movies was such a grand experience -- whether rich or poor these beautifully adorned buildings made you feel luxurious and pampered. It is a joy to me that in the town where I grew up in Connecticut, the people of the town were so upset at the threatened destruction of the beloved Warner Theater that they banded together as volunteers and renovated it to its former glory -- even the marquee was completely restored to its original state, which had disappeared long before I first set foot inside. It is now one of the important theater venues in northwest Connecticut!

  107. Jason Shaw:
    We are not, as you will know, Brightonians in any respect, but we, in a short period of time, are saddened to see so much of the City's heritage being disregarded in the name of Progress with many fine buildings, as you say, being pulled down to make room for yet more mediocre office blocks.

    Marlene Dietrich really was a legend and we are rather pleased that we did, on that one occasion, see her live on stage. Not so very long after she 'retired', having fallen down during a performance in Australia and broken her leg.

  108. The Broad:
    Now that is a film which we do not know and one which we shall certainly look up - doubtless available on DVD. And if you have not seen 'Touch of Evil', then we most strongly recommend it. An all time classic in all ways with an amazing performance by Orson Welles, directing himself.

    What a remarkable story about the Warner Theatre which sounds to be an absolutely iconic building. Could it possibly be the subject for a post? We are certain that it would be of great interest to learn more about it, and to see pictures [no pun intended!].

  109. I will take your advice, and watch the film. And I will let you know my thoughts, afterward.

  110. A wonderful post,dear Jane and Lance!

    A tribute to historical architecture that deserves respect and preservation, as well as a tribute to a beautiful legend!

    Luckily, we have several lovingly restored historic theaters in our area. It is such a thrill to see productions and be transported to another time..

    And what a glorious memory to have seen Miss Dietrich in person!

    I hope you had a lovely time at the Lake...

    All the best,
    - Irina

  111. Good evening Jane and Lance, what a wonderful post. How fabulous that you can say you were there, at the Hippodrome with Marlene Detreich. Perhaps she wasn't all that she was when she was younger, but I am sure she still had presence and star quality. You really have led a most interesting life. It is such a shame about these old buildings going into dis-repair and being demolished. I took my daughter to Belfast Zoo a few weeks ago, there is a building there called the Floral Hall and it was used for dances when my parents were young. It is in a bad way and I am sure it will be getting demolished. If I had a lot of money I would love to save places like this. I am sure they would have a useful life, with a bit of thought. Have a great weekend, love Linda x

  112. A somewhat sad story. But I do like the image: the building in decay, the former star on the gin. Very evocative piece.

  113. Amin:
    We are so pleased that you have found things of interest. We wish you a happy and relaxing weekend too!

  114. Suze[again]:
    Yes, do watch it if you have the opportunity and we should be most interested to know what you think.

    Happy weekend!

  115. Palomasea:
    As you say, how wonderful to have the luxury of theatres of historic interest which are still functioning in your area.We envy you them!

    Certainly an experience we shall never forget to have seen Marlene Dietrich in the flesh [so to speak] but the gin played more than a supporting role!

    We had a wonderful time at Lake Balaton, thank you, and we plan to return there soon.

  116. Flowers on my table:
    Oh, the Floral Hall in Belfast, just its very name, surely makes it deserving of preservation. As you say, Linda, there are so many worthy causes that are crying out to be saved.

    And, in our view, it is not merely a question of finance since in many instances, such as the Hippodrome, the transport museum building which replaced it would certainly not have been inexpensive. We feel that is more about a lack of creative vision. We agree with you that with a little more free thinking new uses could be found for these iconic buildings which could then possibly pay their way.

  117. P.M.Doolan:
    Thank you for your kind comment. Yes, everything about the evening had the atmosphere of a lost 'Golden Age' which, as it so proved to be, was likely never to return.

  118. How wonderful that you were able to see Marlene in such a setting...even if she was a bit past her glory days, it was still her, and that is saying something!
    I feel so sad about these old building not being cared for, especially ones that have had so much historical happenings attached that have touched many lives. That was why I was so happy to see the Max Factor Studio still intact in Hollywood, as well as several other beautiful buildings from that era that still existed surrounding it (I have a few pics of them as well to post). There certainly was art in architecture back much more than now I think.
    If only the construction powers that be we would go back to that mind-set.
    xo J~

  119. what an extraordinary tale indeed...... two old legends!!

  120. 24 Corners:
    Yes, Marlene was still most definitely Marlene and it was still very much of an experience to see and hear her live.

    We obviously share a love of period buildings and we thought that the Max Factor Studio was wonderful. But, as you say, so many worthy buildings are less fortunate and it is doubly disappointing when one sees them replaced with very inferior substitutes. Art in architecture, if only it was more frequently the case!!!

  121. Young at Heart:
    Looking back now we rather feel that this was a legendary experience in many different ways. At the time, it just seemed like a fun idea!!!

  122. Marlene was great. I usually catch a few minutes of an old movie while eating lunch. I love those old films. It's like time travel. :)

  123. M Pax:
    Yes, we think so too. In her prime she really did lead the field and held that position for a very long time. A real trooper, in our view.

  124. Thank you so much for this wonderful link to Marlene Dietrich's "Lilli Marleen" that has everyone in my house humming. It was a glamorous trip down memory lane!

  125. This is such a fond memory for you two, it makes me smile when I read posts about people's past. This is indeed a star that will not be forgotten :)


  126. Oh, I'm SO jealous that you actually saw her ... but I guess the magic of the movies means I can see her too - in her heyday!!

    Have a great weekend!!

  127. Smilla4blogs:
    We are so pleased that you enjoyed playing Lili Marleen. We think that Marlene sounds at her best singing in German and the images, we thought, were great fun.

  128. Kasia:
    Yes, we too find it fascinating to read of the lives people have lived and are intrigued by the connections between them and times and places. It always serves to remind us what a small world this is.

  129. Red Nomad Oz:
    We are thrilled that we actually did see her live, no matter that the heyday was well past. However, as you say, it is wonderful that in the world of films the magic lives on....!!!

  130. Dear Jane and Lance, thankyou so much for your many comments on my blog this morning. You did make me laugh about raiding the housekeeping (something I am rather good at already).I think sour unccoked apples wouldn't go down too well, perhaps some freshair sandwiches? I believe you are right about the wallpaper, but it is a question of money. Still, as they say in Yorkshire, 'why spoil it for a h'p'orth of tar'. I think that I will paint it until I have the funds gathered to paper it all. So glad you felt inspired to do the same in your holiday let. As for spartan porridge, oh dear, that's a little too Oliver Twist, no I have to have raspberries, honey, almonds and a little cream (more like a desert I know, but oh so good.)It is a shame you can't have a black door, but I suppose if everyone went for a different colour it wouldn't look so good. Glad you like the runner. The stripe is not exactly in the middle, which irritated the fitter, but I love.Have a wonderful weekend, and I hope you enjoyed your little break. Lots of love,Linda x

  131. Dearest Jane,

    It is so wonderful to see your comment as I admire you and your words.....thank you so much for the encouragement. I find it so funny that after all the years, this subject of my art would come up. But I am so immature in my skills it is frightening!!!!!! Thanks to your sidebar button, I discovered the wonderful world of there you go..someone who practices!!!! Thank you for your words. I think I am all about simplicity. I always have been, always will be....

    Have a PERFECT DAY, Anita

  132. Those old Art Deco buildings were just wonderful weren't they.

    Say Art Deco architecture to me and I think of the Midland Hotel, Morecambe (my in-laws live in the town) which stood derelict - yet still splendid in a sad kind of way - for so many years. Thankfully it's now been sympathetically restored. Funnily enough, Marlene Dietrich stayed there!

  133. flowers on my table:
    But, dear Linda, your post, as always, was a delight to read and, as is usually the case, we are inspired to think of doing similar things to those which you mention. A very good idea not to paper the walls until enough rolls of that lovely paper have been saved up for and, besides, we are sure that you will come up with some magical paint colour. We shall certainly want to know!!

  134. Castles Crowns and Cottages:
    We were most intrigued with your latest post and which, as is always so, we thought to be beautifully, and magically, presented. We are delighted that you have discovered Elizabeth and her work; she has become a real friend and is, we feel, so very talented.

  135. Annie:
    Your mention of the Midland Hotel in Morecambe is something which we shall most certainly follow up as, until now, it was unknown to us. And, yes, how very strange that Marlene Dietrich should have once stayed there.

  136. Art Deco and Marlene Deitrich -- what a powerful combination -- barbara

  137. Folkways Notebook:
    Most certainly! Both architectural style and diva were spirits of their age!!

  138. Sadly age eventually overcomes buildings as well as people. I can remember going to see Rudolph Nureyev in his farewell tour, it was in Liverpool and he was booed off the stage, a tragedy. I think perhaps managers and their ilk are responsible for pushing artists on the the bitter end, perhaps they are as you say best remembered 'steeped in glamour'

  139. How amazing to have seen such an iconic legend - she must have been awe inspiring, even with the gin!

  140. Susan T:
    Yes, you could well be right about managers pushing their 'star charges' to the limit, anything to try and make the last few pounds/dollars out of them.

    And, how amazing to have seen Rudolf Nureyev on his farewell tour. At least the Coventry audience was rather better behaved in the presence of Marlene. How embarrassing and, yes, sad, to be booed from the stage.

  141. Caroline Lovis(Redneedle):
    The performance, we have to say, was pretty dreadful. But, with the gentle erasing of some of the evening which has taken place over the years, we can now look back fondly and know that we were in the presence of a once great diva.

  142. AHHHH, Hippodrome!!! The mere word conjures, conjures---the tingle of anticipation of such a magical place could yield jugglers, dancers, a boisterous play, and even the faraway thought of blood on the warm sand.

    Those lingering echoes in the old theatre buildings will be captured in the air someday, and oh, the interesting things we'll hear.

    Any mention of Dietrich brings to mind an OLD Johnny Carson, in which the delightful Kay Thompson was telling of the party at which La Marlene insisted on playing "her" recordings for the guests. Not her music or performances, but the APPLAUSE---four minutes in Amsterdam, seven minutes in Paris, three in Brussels, etc.

  143. Racheld:
    Thank you somuch for your comment which made us smile.

    Ah yes, the Hippodrome did indeed have its glory days of stars at the tops of their game and pantomime which filled all 2001 seats. A place where one could suspend belief for a few hours and pretend that one was miles away from the rather dreary 'down by the bus station'reality of Coventry!!

    We were most amused by the account of MD playing her applause to her adoring public. One has to admire the bravura of it all!!

  144. Oh, to have a even a tiny bit of her glamour and sex appeal! Your post, as always, made me think again of forgotten things. Jane x

  145. Jane The Booklady:
    Indeed, it was a chance sighting of a photograph of Marlene Dietrich on the wall of a Budapest cafe where, very recently, we were having coffee with friends which set this chain of thought in motion.

  146. Oh you lucky ones, you actually saw her!

    I am listening to your clip, it almost moves to tears. (I am not given to much weeping, being a hard-hearted descendant of all sorts of "Old Europe" tribes.)

    I remember my parents, father in particular, of course, swooning over her.

    Oh where are the snows of yesteryear?

  147. Good evening Jane and Lance
    Apologies for being late to comment on your post. You were in my thoughts as I was swept home driving back from Scotland in a storm. I remembered you had commented on my post that you were off to the Hungarian seaside and felt sure the weather there would be far better!
    I have enjoyed reading this post as it brought back memories of a play I was performing in at the Northern Stage in Newcastle. Nerves got the better of me, so I decided to steady them with a large gin and tonic before I went on stage. This of course was a huge mistake as I forgot one of my lines! Sadly I am not the great star that Marlene Dietrich was..... although my husband often calls me a diva!
    I hope you are both well and are having a good weekend. Abby

  148. For anyone interested in Marlene Dietrich, I can highly recommend The Last Goddess.

  149. Friko:
    We think, most likely, that we went because she was such a legend and, perhaps, subconsciously, we thought that there was material for a future blog post!!!

    There was, indeed, something very special about her which has not totally disappeared with 'the snows of yesteryear'.

    We are delighted that you enjoyed the clip.

  150. My Spotty Pony:
    Alas for you and your storm! We had a wonderful few days at the Balaton with the most glorious weather which, on our return to Budapest, has continued and, even as we write this, the windows are wide open and warm air streams in.

    We laughed so much at your description of yourself on, and off, the stage in Newcastle not, of course, having realised or known that you are a thespian. We shall now, if your husband does not mind, think of you as our blogger diva. We love it.

  151. lx [again]:
    Thank you so much for this, and the direct link. We shall certainly follow this up, as we are sure that others will too.

  152. Amin [again]:
    We do so enjoy being in touch and reading your posts. It is a pleasure.

  153. Hello Jane and Lance! What a fabulous old building. I so love all things Art Deco - such a wonderful period for design.

    How exciting to have been able to see Marlene! I have only ever seen her in one movie, Witness for the Prosecution, she was fantastic! I think if I had to perform in front of a theatre of 2001, I might need a little gin - or maybe a glass of bubbles would be more my style!

    Hope you have been well and happy weekend,
    Stephie x

  154. StephieB:
    Possibly the most daunting part for Marlene Dietrich at that time, and by then she was well over seventy, was playing to a house of about 30 in a theatre capable of seating 2001. Hence the need for the gin!

    Although she had only a small part in 'Touch of Evil', it is a suberb film with brilliant camera shots.

  155. Amazing coincidences take place sometimes. I was just thinking about Marlene Dietrich, having watched her film where she plays an addicted gambler. It was a pleasure to read your post.

  156. Olga:
    Now that is very strange! Another Follower is in the middle of reading a biography of Marlene Dietrich and, very recently, her photograph was on the wall of a Budapest café in which we were having coffee with friends.

  157. What a lovely memory thanks for sharing.
    I wonder why Ms Dietrich felt the need to keep performing. Why couldn't she retire and enjoy her later years? She seems to have worked so hard in her prime, I should think a little peace would have been wonderful.
    It's quite sad!

  158. Dear Jane and Lance, thank you so much for these glimpses of history; truly, I love reading these type posts. Actually, I enjoy reading all your posts; it reminds me of our time together in Budapest. What lovely memories, thank you SO much!

  159. DaniBP:
    A very good question! We imagine that for so many who have spent a lifetime in the limelight it is very difficult to accept they are no longer what they once were. To this add the constant need for attention and, possibly,adoration.

  160. Thistle Cove Farm:
    Thank you for such a very kind comment. We are so often reminded of the brief but very happy time which we spent together here in Budapest and are confident that there will be, and look forward to, future occasions.

  161. What an experience to remember!Thank you for sharing these special memories.
    And how sad that so many of these wonderful deco buildings have been left to decay.
    A wonderful building that has been given a new lease of life not far from you in Brighton is the modernist De La Warr pavilion at Bexhill, built in 1935 and restored in 2005, and which now houses wonderful art exhibitions amongst other things.
    From 24th Septemebr, not to be missed,is an exhibition of Andy Warhol which I hope to go to - the last exhibition I saw there was an amazing exhibition of Ben Nicolson's work.
    Well worth a visit if you are over here!
    Thanks for your kind comments about my strawberry jam!It does taste good even though I say it myself!
    Gill xx

  162. gillyflower:
    Yes, indeed, the De La Warr pavilion about which we have read and which, to date, we have yet to visit. All of which is rather silly as it is, as you say, so close to Brighton. Thank you for the reminder which has come as a timely prompt. On a slightly similar theme, we understand [we hope correctly] that the Lido at Saltdean is to be restored to its 1930s glory.

    The Andy Warhol exhibition sounds an absolute must and if still on when we are next in Brighton we shall make a point of being on the bus to Bexhill.

  163. It is me again:) I have something for you in my latest post.

  164. Ah sad to lose a fine old building like that. Wonderful how you've captured it, even in its decayed state, and in a way "saved" it for us to see. As for Marlene Dietrich--clearly, you were one of a lucky few. Really, only 30 in the audience? What else was going on in Coventry that night, I wonder?

  165. Olga[again]:
    Thank you so much for thinking of us. We have replied on your blog.

  166. Susan Scheid:
    Yes, it is funny how one can write about somewhere which is now no longer and in a way give it fresh life, at least in the memory for the moment.

    A good question!!!!Perhaps dear Marlene had lost all her star attraction at that point. One hates to think that she may have even lost out to some football match?!!!

  167. Dear Jane and Lance, thankyou for your kind comments on Yorkshire, it will always hold a special place in my heart. Hope you have somewhere lovely to go to today. I am having a day at home cooking and sewing (I know that wouldn't appeal to you), but I am delighted!Have a happy day, love Linda x

  168. Flowers on my table [again]:
    Good morning, Linda! You are quite right that we should find a day of cooking and sewing the next thing to Puragtory, but we hope that you have a happy time of it. At home today, ourselves, just dreaming up the next post!!!

  169. Oh my dear Jane and Lance, How I would love to see Marlene Dietrich performed live!! It must be amazing to see her sing live. I have got all her songs (especially I love the songs she sang with the orchestra conducted by Burt Bacharach) - her rendition's of German cabaret, Mein Blondes Baby is my favourite. I think in one of Visconti's films, The Damned, Helmut Berger who was Visconti's boyfriend, cross dressed as Marlene Dietrich and sang one of her songs if I remember it correctly.

  170. What a beautifully - just absolutely wonderfully - written post. I enjoyed it so much! I didn't know of Marlene Dietrich, though. Now, I do! =]

  171. A Super Dilettante:
    What fun indeed it would have been for us all to have been sitting in the orchestra stalls hearing and watching Die Dietrich singing her swansong. Alas, dear ASD, you were probably not born!!!!

    Yes, we think that you are right about 'The Damned'. A very fine film in our book. Who knows, perhaps Helmut Berger could have done a better job all those years ago in Coventry?1111

  172. Katy Noelle:
    Marlene Dietrich was definitely a diva in her day, although, very regrettably, those days had long since passed when we saw her in Coventry. She was, however, such a trooper and was at the top of her profession for many decades!!

  173. How lucky for you to have been to see Dietrich. While it is true that she was an illusionist, she was one with taste and discipline and through artifice, in a way she became a work of art. Her image became very stylized, and contrived, a bit like Kabuki. It became that much more mysterious and enigmatic. She had so much charisma, that even in her later years I would have happily traveled to hear sing but one song.

    Her last visit to us here in Toronto was in the early 1970s when she was at the Imperial Room of the famous Royal York Hotel. I was too young for such a sophisticated performance, but I regret not having been to it. However, today I am happy to visit her many clips on YouTube. There one can find “Blowin’ In the Wind” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” in English and German.

    Your description is especially touching as everyone felt this would be the end of her performing, and yet bravely she appeared and sang one very last time, in the film “Just a Gigolo”(1979). This may also be seen on YouTube.

    There simply isn’t anyone with that kind of allure, elegance, romance, nostalgia, and glamour today. Where Have All the Stars Gone?

  174. Square with Flair:
    Thank you so much for your most interesting comment. We are delighted that you share our enthusiasm for Marlene Dietrich and we do indeed look back to our seeing her live with great fondness. We are certain that the performance in Toronto would have been a part of her 'grand tour' and what a pity that you were just too young to see it!!

    We certainly share your view that she is not matched by any of the .stars' today. She was a complex mixture but did have a unique style that others have never come close, in our view, to replicating.

  175. Still I remember her in the movie 'Der Blaue Engel" after a novel by Heinrich Mann, Thomas younger brother!
    She was exquisite!
    And memories of crumbling buildings are so sad and hold their own tragic! Not unlike old film stars....

  176. Oh my goodness! Thought I would drop in for a coffee with you (too early for pink gin!) as I make some notes for my Art Appreciation module guessed it...Art Deco, Bauhaus AND my fave Art Nouveau...and here I am discussing such with you both :)

    I loved your reminisces of Marlene. Another coincidence is occurs here in that sitting on my bedside table is a novel in which MD makes a brief appearance.

    So, all in all, a highly enjoyable post and written in your usual, unique style. Thank you my dearies.

  177. VictoriaArt:
    Yes, we rather think that Marlene Dietrich is a once seen never to be forgotten person. Such charisma, even in those late days of her career.

    The film is, indeed, such an iconic piece of cinema history. We love it too.

  178. Dolly:
    Good morning, Dolly, and we hope that there lies ahead a productive and enjoyable college day!

    What a coincidence that you should be reading about Die Dietrich just as you have come across this post. Great minds!!

    Yes, Art Deco, Bauhaus and Art Nouveau are favourites with us too. Just recently we went on a guided tour of 10 Bauhaus buildings in a district of Budapest, primarily to look at their respective staircases. It was a fascinating three hours and we are sure that you would have loved it all too.

  179. I'm catching up wit my neglected blog reading at last, Jane and Lance. Many thanks for this reminder of a star who was truly charismatic at her zenith.

    In a similar context I remember, as a student in 1966 seeing Margot Fonteyn dancing Odette/Odile in Swan Lake at the New Theatre, Oxford (though sadly not with Nureyev) By that time she was 46, and though not at the end of her career, she was already past the age when most dancers retire. However she was still unforgettably beautiful to watch, even from up in the gods which was all we could afford.

  180. Perpetua:
    How we loved your story of watching Fonteyn dance. Truly unforgettable, we are sure, and so good to look back upon. Amazing that she was still dancing at that professional level at the age of 46!

    As you say, these performers may well have been past their prime, but there was still a magic about them which makes for lasting memories.

  181. I am so sad to hear that this dream has been squashed. I think though that this one, as heartbreakingly disappointing that it must be for you (and perhaps the house) will leave you with a silver lining - to your back pocket. I wish you lots of hugs as you no doubt come to terms the the finality of your decision, however another day, another home and with good fortune, another adventure!
    x0 KL

  182. I can't believe I spent most of my life somehow unaware of Art Deco design. My lovely husband has taught me to recognise it (most of the time) and I certainly love it, almost as much as Art Nouveau. We look for both everywhere we go. As to Ms. Dietrich, one has to hope she performed for the love rather than the need of it. Looking at the artists on offer at the Newcastle City Hall, it has to either be love or money that drives them, but sadly I won't be giving most of those people either. I would definitely have gone to see Ms. D, however.

    I'm continually surprised to learn that people I thought long gone were actually still alive during my lifetime. I obviously was looking elsewhere at the time.

  183. Shelley:
    Budapest where we live for most of our time is filled with the most glorious examples of Art Deco and Art Nouveau. If you have never visited, perhaps you might be tempted to do so one day?

    MD was certainly a star performer in her prime and, for us, very few people these days can even come close. Even in her twilight years, there was a presence on stage which held one spellbound.


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