The Scarlet Empress
Sternberg's greatest and most astonishing film is a pictorially brilliant homage to the imperious stardom and luminosity of Marlene Dietrich.
Literally over-spilling its frame with rich, baroque detail, Sternberg's opulent and decadent film creates an extraordinarily heightened portrait of the world of Catherine the Great.
A bracing mélange of precisely detailed artefacts, art history, myth, the anachronistic and salacious tales of Catherine's sexual prowess and ruthless pursuit of power, it features some of the greatest set-pieces of 1930s Hollywood.
With John Lodge, Louise Dresser and a demented Sam Jaffe. 35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film and Television Archive.