Marlene Dietrich Poster

Quotes (65)

  • [on Der blaue Engel (1930), German-language version of Der blaue Engel (1930)] I thought everything we were doing was awful. They kept a camera pointed here [at my groin]. I was so young and dumb.
  • I am not a myth.
  • I never enjoyed working in a film.
  • [in 1964] I had no desire to be a film actress, to always play somebody else, to be beautiful with somebody constantly straightening out your every eyelash. It was always a big bother to me.
  • In Europe, it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman - we make love with anyone we find attractive.
  • A country without bordellos is like a house without bathrooms.
  • To be completely a woman you need a master, and in him a compass for your life. You need a man you can look up to and respect. If you dethrone him it's no wonder that you are discontented, and discontented women are not loved for long.
  • The weak are more likely to make the strong weak than the strong are likely to make the weak strong.
  • Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
  • I am at heart, a gentleman
  • When you're dead, you're dead. That's it.
  • Careful grooming may take twenty years off a woman's age, but you can't fool a flight of stairs.
  • I'm not an actress -- I'm a personality.
  • Sex is much better with a woman, but then one can't live with a woman!
  • [on Loretta Young] Every time she "sins", she builds a church. That's why there are so many Catholic churches in Hollywood.
  • Most women set out to change a man, and when they have changed him they do not like him.
  • I have a child and I have made a few people happy. That is all.
  • The relationship between the make-up man and the film actor is that of accomplices in crime.
  • There is a lack of dignity to film stardom.
  • I never ever took my career seriously.
  • I was an actress. I made films. Finish.
  • Gary Cooper was neither intelligent nor cultured. Just like the other actors, he was chosen for his physique, which, after all, was more important than an active brain.
  • Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw flowers at you. In Argentina they throw themselves.
  • [on Anna Magnani] A force of nature.
  • [on Hildegard Knef] She's Mother Courage.
  • The legs aren't so beautiful. I just know what to do with them.
  • [on Cary Grant] The champion.
  • [In 1972, about Liza Minnelli] I'm annoyed when people keep comparing her to her mother [Judy Garland]. She's nothing to do with her mother. She's a completely different woman. The film Cabaret (1972) is a great hit for her and that's all one wants.
  • [on Orson Welles] You should cross yourself when you say his name.
  • The diaphragm is the greatest invention since Pan-Cake makeup.
  • Once a woman has forgiven a man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.
  • In America, sex is an obsession, in other parts of the world it's a fact.
  • If there is a supreme being, he's crazy.
  • ]on Rock Hudson] He was one of the gentlest, kindest men in Hollywood--and all those journalists should burn in Hell for the bile they printed about him when he died.
  • [on reading] I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognizedly wiser than oneself.
  • [when Paramount bought the rights to the book, 'Mommie Dearest'] I am shocked that Paramount bought that filthy book and made the frightful bitch who wrote it rich, and that rhymes. I did not know Joan Crawford but nobody deserves that kind of slaughter. Too bad she did not leave her where she found her, so she could now spit her poison in the slums of some big city. I hate her with a passion and I know the public will.
  • [on audiences at her nightclub performances] They spoil you. They love you. Of course, I do a different kind of show in Las Vegas. They want more emphasis on sex. In London and the rest of Europe I can sing French and German songs, as well as English. There's more scope for me. But I enjoy nightclub work, wherever it is.
  • [on Orson Welles] When I talk with him, I feel like a tree that has been watered.
  • [on her preference for trousers] They are so comfortable. It takes too much time to be a well-dressed woman. I have watched others. Bags, shoes, hats. They must think of them all the time. I cannot waste that time.
  • Ernest Hemingway is the most positive life force I have ever encountered. I hate anything negative, and I hate waste. In Hemingway, nothing is wasted.
  • [after returning to West Germany in 1960] The Germans and I no longer speak the same language.
  • [during the war] [Adolf Hitler] is an idiot.
  • [1969] Surely I'm anti-war. I don't think there's anybody that is for war - I mean women. Maybe generals are for war. Professional soldiers might be, I don't know. But I have never found a woman who is for war and naturally I'm against war. I think if you're being attacked you have to have answer back, you must defend yourself... I'm against war that goes and fights in some unknown land. I'm against that very much.
  • Magazines - the biggest myth creators of all! You must never, ever read American magazines. And if you're sitting in a waiting room and can't help it - don't believe a word of any of them.
  • [1969, when asked how she relaxes] I don't think I do. You see in our language, in German or in French, there is no such word as relax. This is an American invention. We don't have a feeling like the American has, now it's 07:00 or something and I have to have a drink and relax. It's not a necessity in Europe. He drinks because he likes to drink.
  • [1969, when asked if she thought the nature of love had changed over the years] I think the real love has not changed at all. If people call all sorts of relationships love, they know themselves it isn't so but they say it in order to make it valuable. In order to make it allowed. You know, when a girl says, but I love him, in order to say that's why I live with him. That's not necessarily so because the real love has not changed and the one great love that will never change is mother love.
  • [on her life as a star] Do you think this is glamorous? That this is a great life, and that I do it for my health? Well, it isn't. It's hard work. And who would work if they didn't have to? I work because I pay away in taxes to the American Government 88 cents out of each dollar I earn. Everybody in America works today. You have to. Oh - know, I could live tucked away out of sight in some Swiss chalet - but why should I? I am an American citizen, and proud to be so. I enjoy living in that country and one pays for one's pleasures. So I work. And as long as people want me, and I have them eating out of my hands, I shall continue to do so.
  • [1969] I have never used my body. I have played roles where the legs were used and the body was used but in life, I have never done that.
  • [on English audiences] They are marvelous and warm. People say the English are so unemotional, but this is untrue. At least I never find them so. To me, they are the most emotional, and also the most un-phoney people I know. And as I am that way too we get along just fine together. I think also the English like me because they know that I do not take myself seriously, and that the whole thing is a joke, and that I am laughing at myself all the time. And when I laugh, they laugh. This is fun. We understand each other so well.
  • [1969] I've always liked Texas because I met all the Texans in the war, 36th division. We always adored them because they were so terribly conceited being Texans. When they took a little village and set up school, they told everybody that Texas was the capital of the United States.
  • Stupid people annoy me. There are fans of mine who worship and idolize me, and who are in awe of me. They are stupid people. Who am I to be held in awe? What have I accomplished? If one is to be in awe of anyone, let it be a doctor or a brilliant scientist. Not a performer. I could never be friends with anyone who is stupid enough to worship me.
  • I am a unique performer and my audience realize this. I mean, who else is there doing what I am doing today?
  • [1960s, when asked if the tag "sex goddess" annoyed her] You mean like Marilyn Monroe? I'm no sex goddess and I never have been. Not in the '30s - and not now. And I don't get annoyed, no, simply because one comes to expect people to confuse glamour with sex, which is a different thing altogether. This is the price one pays for being famous.
  • [1963, when asked why, at age 61, she continued to act] For the money. What else for?
  • [1969, on attitude] I do think it's rather stupid to be nonchalant. I think one should be full of enthusiasm for everything that happens if one considers it to be worthy of enthusiasm.
  • [1960s, when asked what she would do if she inherited a couple of million pounds the following day] What would I do? I'd retire. On the spot. No more work. I have an awful lot of private life to catch up on, which, at this rate, I don't think will be possible. When you're in the public eye as conspicuously as I am, it is conceivable to maintain a private life - but the trouble is you can only devote half your time to it. My private life, which no one knows anything about, nor ever will, needs more than just half my time if it is to be a success.
  • I do not change my face for my public. I have not tried to create an image or a myth about myself; I am as quiet and placid off-stage as I am when the bright lights are on me. No temperaments, no periods of dark, gloomy despair and pessimism. I am easy-going and the only thing I cannot stand is stupidity - in any form.
  • [1969] This secret of all performing is that you have to be able to concentrate at such an extent that everybody who is listening to you has no other thoughts. It's particularly difficult with songs because I sing in many different languages and all the people don't understand what I'm saying. You still have to keep them in trance and I'm really happy that I'm able to do that.
  • [1969] America has a youth complex. In particular with me, they adore to make me older and I don't see why they should do that because it's bad enough as it is, but maybe it looks better in print if I'm a hundred and two and I still walk on the stage and I'm not on crutches. It becomes rather thick but youth cult is quite bad. You don't have that in Europe at all because I think it is because America still thinks that it's a young nation. I don't think it is. It should stop that. I think they have been young long enough. They should grow up.
  • You can be good in a play that is bad and the whole thing flops. It is just not worth the effort or the heartbreak. I am not a brave or courageous woman. I prefer to do what I know is safe.
  • [on her appeal among audiences] It is not nostalgia. Three-quarters of my audience are young people who cannot possibly be nostalgic simply because the mood I create is of a period most of them have not lived in. Besides, the songs that seem to go down best are the newer ones - that is, when I can find new songs good enough to sing.
  • [1969] I think if you have any sort of intelligence you can't succumb to adoration because people adore so many things. They also adore things that you think quite worthless so you can't take it too seriously.
  • [1960s, when asked about the secret of her success] Secret? No secret at all. I work hard, that is all. People say that I have some sort of "quality" - well, maybe I have. How am I to know that? All I know is that I walk onto a stage, stand still, and sing. I think it is Dietrich the woman they like - rather than Dietrich the singer. They pay to see me for what I am.
  • [1969] Success in America means a lot to a man and it means a lot to his wife and family. There is a general belief that success is synonymous with happiness. Well, it doesn't, as you know, they don't go together at all. The American is striving for success and works much too hard in order to get, whatever, a little more money or a raise or something. He loses out on all the pleasures of life because of that. In Europe they have a car, they have it 15 years and they polish it and they wash it and they love it but here people don't love their cars because they know next year they are going to get another one. And then everything is on credit. They don't own it and then you buy many more things than you need because it's on credit and it doesn't bring them happiness. It just doesn't. Possessions do not make you happy.
  • If I dressed for myself, I wouldn't bother at all. Clothes bore me. I'd wear jeans. I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men.