Josef Von Sternberg

Director, Writer, Film patcher
Once considered one of Hollywood's premier directors during the 1930s, Josef von Sternberg was mainly remembered for his seven films with German actress Marlene Dietrich. But his main contributions were actually to the ... Read more »
Born: 05/29/1894 in Austria

Filmography

Director (20)

It: Part One 2015 (Movie)

(Director)

Jet Pilot 1957 (Movie)

(Director)

Macao 1952 (Movie)

(Director)

The Saga of Anatahan 1951 (Movie)

(Director)

The Devil Is a Woman 1934 (Movie)

(Director)

The Scarlet Empress 1933 (Movie)

(Director)

Blonde Venus 1932 (Movie)

(Director)

Shanghai Express 1931 (Movie)

(Director)

An American Tragedy 1930 (Movie)

(Director)

Dishonored 1930 (Movie)

(Director)

Morocco 1930 (Movie)

(Director)

The Blue Angel 1930 (Movie)

(Director)

The Docks of New York 1927 (Movie)

(Director)

The Last Command 1927 (Movie)

(Director)

Underworld 1926 (Movie)

(Director)

Crime and Punishment (Movie)

(Director)

I Take This Woman (Movie)

(Director)

The Dragnet (Movie)

(Director)

The King Steps Out (Movie)

(Director)

Thunderbolt (Movie)

(Director)
Writer (4)

The Saga of Anatahan 1951 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Scarlet Empress 1933 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Blonde Venus 1932 (Movie)

(From Story)

Dishonored 1930 (Movie)

("X-27") (From Story)
Music (2)

The Scarlet Empress 1933 (Movie)

(Music)

Dishonored 1930 (Movie)

(Music)
Camera, Film, & Tape (2)

The Saga of Anatahan 1951 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

The Devil Is a Woman 1934 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)
Producer (2)

Blonde Venus 1932 (Movie)

(Producer)

An American Tragedy 1930 (Movie)

(Producer)
Actor (1)

The Saga of Anatahan 1951 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)
Other (2)

Undivided Attention 2014 (Movie)

film extract("The Blue Angel") (Other)

Marlene 1986 (Movie)

film extracts("Der Blaue Engel/The Blue Angel" (1930) "Morocco" (1930) "Dishonored" (1931) "Blonde Venus" (1932) "The Scarlet Empress" (1934) "The Devil Is a Woman" (1935)) (Other)

Biography

Once considered one of Hollywood's premier directors during the 1930s, Josef von Sternberg was mainly remembered for his seven films with German actress Marlene Dietrich. But his main contributions were actually to the language of film, particularly his handling of lighting and mise-en-scene. Von Sternberg was first and foremost a master cinematographer whose expressionistic use of light and dark created stunning visuals onscreen that took on a life of their own. He made his mark as a director during the silent era with "The Salvation Hunters" (1925), "Underworld" (1927) and "The Last Command" (1928). Following the failure of "Thunderbolt" (1929), von Sternberg went back to Germany and cast the then-unknown Marlene Dietrich in "The Blue Angel" (1930), which he shot concurrently in English and in his native tongue. The film turned Dietrich into an international star, and with the exotic actress as his muse, rejuvenated his Hollywood career. Von Sternberg directed Dietrich in six more films, most notably "Morocco" (1930), "Blonde Venus" (1932), "The Shanghai Express" (1932) and "The Scarlett Empress" (1934). But once "The Devil is a Woman" (1935) failed at the box office, von Sternberg's collaboration with Dietrich was over. While he directed a few more films like "Crime and Punishment" (1935) and "The Shanghai Gesture" (1941), von Sternberg's career diminished. Despite the rather quiet end to his days as a director, von Sternberg's influence and reputation as the ultimate Svengali remained consequential for generations of filmmakers.

Relationships

Serafin Sternberg

Mother

Jeanne MacBride

Wife
married in 1943 was 21 at time of marriage worked as Von Sternberg's secretary had two children together

Riza Royce

Wife
married in 1926 divorced in 1930

Moses Sternberg

Father
Orthodox Jew left for US when Von Sternberg was three sent for family in 1901

Nicholas Sternberg

Son
mother, Jeanne Annette MacBride

EDUCATION

Jamaica High School

Jamaica , New York
attended briefly

Milestones

1959

Taught course on the aethetics of film at UCLA

1953

Last film shot in Jjapan, "The Saga of Anatahan"

1947

Taught class in film directing at USC

1940

Filmed documentary "The Town" for US Office of War Information

1937

Went to England to work for Alexander Korda on "I Claudius"

1930

Moved to Germany, directed UFA's first sound film, "The Blue Angel" (first of seven films with Marlene Dietrich)

1926

Joined Paramount as assistant director

1925

Directorial debut, "The Salvation Hunters"

1924

Added "von" to name at suggestion of actor Elliot Dexter while working as scenarist and assistant on "By Divine Right"

1923

Moved to Hollywood; first work as assistant director on "By Divine Right"

1919

First credit as assistant director, "The Mystery of the Yellow Room" (dir. Emile Chautard)

1917

Joined Army Signal Corps; helped make training films

1914

Film patcher, then chief assistant to the director general, with World Film Company, Fort Lee, NJ

1908

Moved back to USA (Long Island)

1904

Returned to Vienna

1901

Sent for by father who was living in the USA

Changed first name to Josef and left home at 17

Semi-retired during mid 1950s

Worked as apprentice at aunt's millinery store and as stock clerk for lace store

Bonus Trivia

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He received the George Eastman House Medal of Honor in 1957.

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Made honorary member of the Akademie der Kunste, Berlin in 1960.

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