Morocco (Sternberg, 1930)

Morocco (Josef von Sternberg, 1930)

Set in the shadows and streets of Morocco, Sternberg uses this muddled and slightly dingy setting as a surrounding to the muddled and dingy central relationship. Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper are both fantastic; both their facial and bodily expressions and movements bring a naturalistic, unsentimental feel to their introduction and interactions. The personalities written for these characters is the perfect combination of friction and passion, making their self-inflicted struggles believable. Depsite this, and the haunting way they can’t live with or without each other, the movie stumbles a bit because Sternberg tries too hard to sell this as a love story when, in fact, it’s a story about a fling and two personalities that desire the thought of each other more than actually being together. As a result, the ending sort of misses the mark. The setup, atmosphere, and performances make up for it though.  7.75/10

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