Marlene Dietrich on Sex Symbols
"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." - Marlene Dietrich in 1969
(tape rewinding and whirring)
- [Voiceover] What do you do Miss Dietrich
to keep from succumbing to the adulation
because you had it for a good number of years,
some people almost worship--
- Well 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.
- [Voiceover] There are some actresses who as they age,
they become older,
they still keep trying to be that ingenue.
Do you begrudge these years?
- No, God, no, why should I?
I think irrevocable things you can not begrudge,
if you have any bit of intelligence.
- [Voiceover] You don't begrudge
what you can't do anything about.
- That's right.
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 102
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.
- [Voiceover] It could be said that
you have been a sex symbol,
a Marilyn Monroe sex symbol and so on.
You use it, you have used it in the past for a purpose.
- Well 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.
- [Voiceover] The exploitations stayed
with the screen and nothing else.
- That is right.
- [Voiceover] You're the kind of person that a lot of men
would like to have loved or felt they have loved.
Do you think the nature of love
is something that's changing?
For example now, the hippie says, "I want love,"
and they say, "love and peace."
- 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.
- [Voiceover] How do you relax?
- 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 7:00 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.
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.
I only work in the towns I like
and I go back to the countries that I've liked before.
- [Voiceover] Why do you like Houston?
- Well 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.
- [Voiceover] What is left that Marlene Dietrich wants to do
that she maybe hasn't done and wants to do more of?
- Nothing, no no, absolutely no new ambition.
- [Voiceover] You want to keep doing what you're doing?
- Yes, do my duty, that's all.
- [Voiceover] Well I hope you keep it up
for a long, long, time.
- Thank you very much, bye bye.
- [Voiceover] Thank you for visiting us.
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