Another tantalizing collaboration between Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich at LACMA: The Scarlet Empress, a Catherine the Great biopic as grand as its subject. What it lacks in historical accuracy, the 1934 production (described by von Sternberg as a "relentless excursion into style") makes up for in eye-catching production design and a sprawling cast. The transition from Princess Sophia Frederica to Empress Catherine is as much a sexual awakening as it is a rise to power, and it's portrayed in one of the last films unaffected by the Hays Code.
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