The early 1960s was a turbulent time for the film industry and the Hollywood studio system was becoming a relic of the past as television and other competitors in the entertainment field lured audiences away. Some movie actors could see the writing on the wall and began to pursue film offers outside Hollywood and the U.S. Some of the more famous former studio contract players who escaped and reinvented themselves in Europe were Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Lee Van Cleef, Jean Seberg and Jane Fonda. Even seasoned veterans like Edward G. Robinson, Lee J. Cobb and Bette Davis appeared in movies made overseas but one of the more unusual examples of American actors appearing in an international production is Barry Sullivan and Martha Hyer in Pyro…The Thing Without a Face (1964, aka Fuego in the European market), directed by Julio Coll and filmed in Spain.
Here’s a rarely seen Pre-Code curiosity made during the early period of Marlene Dietrich’s career at Paramount, The Song of Songs (1933). It is usually overlooked amid the Josef von Sternberg collaborations that made her famous such as The Blue Angel (1930), Morocco (1930) and Shanghai Express (1932), yet, it provides a fascinating look at Dietrich under a different director (Rouben Mamoulian) as well as a departure from her usual persona as a vamp or prostitute (at least in the beginning). The film is also generously seasoned with romance, decadence, melodrama, earthy humor, some musical numbers and a disaster – there is a fire in the final act.