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Josef von Sternberg

1894 - 1969

The director Josef von Sternberg was born as Jonas Sternberg in Vienna.
Because his father was a busy businessman who had connections in the USA the young Josef von Sternberg lived in Vienna and New York City laternately. The family moved to the USA in 1908 for good.

In the USA he got in touch with the film business in 1919 and he made first experiences as a director assistant in movies like "The Mystery of the Yellow Room" (19), "The Hightes Bidder" (21), "The Bohemian Girl" (22) and "Vanity Fair" (23).

In 1924 he also wrote his first screenplay for "By Divine Right" (24) where he was also engaged as a director assistant. His last movie as an assistant was for the box office hit "It" (27).

In 1925 Josef von Sternberg became a chief director and he realised numerous movies in the 20s like "The Salvation Hunters" (25), "A Woman of the Sea" (26), "Underworld" (27), "The Last Command" (28) - Emil Jannings got for his role as Gen. Dolgorucki the first Oscar in film history, "The Docks of New York" (28) and "Thunderbolt" (29).

Finally Josef von Sternberg went to Germany where he worked together with Emil Jannings again. He shot the movie "Der blaue Engel" (30) for Ufa with Emil Jannings as Prof. Unrat. But despite the superstar Emil Jannings it was a young actress who stole the show from everybody. Marlene Dietrich impersonated the role of Lola Lola so intensely that she became a world star straightaway. The movie itself belongs to the most important German productions of the 30s.

Josef von Sternberg returned to the USA and took Marlene Dietrich with him. They worked together for six more movies - "Morocco" (30), "Dishonored" (31), "Shanghai Express" (32), "Blonde Venus" (32), "The Scarlet Empress" (34) and "The Devil Is a Woman" (35) which cemented Marlene Dietrich's status as a star.

Afterwards their way separated and Josef von Sternberg realised movies without her in the next years. To these works belong "The King Steps Out" (36), "I, Claudius" (37), "The Great Waltz" (38), "I Take This Woman" (40) and "Duel in the Sun" (46).
But many of his movies did not fullfil the expectation at the cinema box office and many of his shhotings were very difficult because Josef von Sternberg was an autocrat.

His last movies came in the 50s into being with "Macao" (52), "Anatahan" (53) and "Jet Pilot" (57).

Other movies with Josef von Sternberg (Director):
The Masked Bride (25) Exquisite Sinner (26) Children of Divorce (27) The Dragnet (28) Street of Sin (28) The Case fo Lena Smith (29) An American Tragedy (31) Crime and Punishment (35) The Fashion Side of Hollywood (35) Sergeant Madden (39) The Shanghai Gesture (41) The Town (44)

The Salvation Hunters (25) Exquisite Sinner (26) A Woman of the Sea (26) Underworld (27) The Last Command (28) Street of Sin (28) Thunderbolt (29) Der blaue Engel (30) Dishonored (31) An American Tragedy (31) Blonde Venus (32) Lady of the Tropics (39) The Shanghai Gesture (41) Anatahan (53)

The Salvation Hunters (25) The Docks of New York (28) An American Tragedy (31) Blonde Venus (32) The Scarlet Empress (34) The Devil Is a Woman (35) Anatahan (53)

The Salvation Hunters (25) The Wedding March (28) The Honeymoon (28) Dishonored (31) Blonde Venus (32) The Scarlet Empress (34)

The Devil Is a Woman (35) Anatahan (53)

Production Designer:
The Devil Is a Woman (35) Duel in the Sun (46)