Back to Silent Stars Who Transitioned to Talkies
Director Josef Von Sternberg liked to claim he discovered Dietrich, but the leggy German star made 19 silent films before von Sternberg unleashed her husky voice in sound pictures. A veteran of Berlin cabarets, she played chorus girls and other supporting parts but graduated to leading lady with 1929's melodrama 'I Kiss Your Hand, Madame.' Still, Von Sternberg could take credit for her international breakthrough role in 1930's 'The Blue Angel,' in which she played Lola-Lola, femme fatale chanteuse, and introduced her signature song, 'Falling in Love Again.' Filmed in simultaneous German and English versions, 'The Blue Angel' was a worldwide smash that brought her and Von Sternberg to Hollywood. Together, they made half a dozen more pictures together during the 1930s, movies like 'Morocco' and 'The Scarlet Empress' that made Dietrich an icon of chilly, forbidden sexuality. Her screen career waned after the 1930s, but she remained a popular performer in nightclubs, TV appearances, and occasional big-screen parts for decades.