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1931 1h 31m Drama List
90% Tomatometer 10 Reviews 75% Audience Score 500+ Ratings A streetwalker (Marlene Dietrich) in World War I Vienna becomes spy X-27, opposite Russian spy H-14 (Victor McLaglen). Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (10) Critics Reviews
Richard Brody New Yorker The elaborate disguises, sophisticated ruses, and arachnid schemes... display the elegant beauty of fakery; their ultimate truth is disclosed in Dietrich's insolent smile when facing down men with guns. Feb 1, 2021 Full Review Keith Uhlich To try and describe Dietrich in Dishonored ... is a daunting exercise Marlene's character would no doubt look upon with a withering, contemptuous glance. Rated: 5/5 Apr 25, 2003 Full Review Dave Kehr Chicago Reader Iit is perhaps the purest expression of Sternberg's belief in the triumph of aesthetics over mortality. Jan 1, 2000 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy Dietrich's fine performance and von Sternberg's visuals (that masquerade ball!) overcome both a shaky second half and a badly miscast Victor McLaglen. Rated: 3/4 Jun 16, 2021 Full Review Nicholas Bell Had Dishonored managed to be more than a mere subpar melodrama, perhaps it would have managed to make more of an impact in the von Sternberg canon. Rated: 2.5/5 Aug 18, 2020 Full Review James Kendrick Q Network Film Desk von Sternberg turns what could have been little more than a typical espionage potboiler into another one of his luxuriant visual essays on Dietrich's smoldering screen presence and his own love of cinematic texture, depth, and tactility. Rated: 3/4 Aug 6, 2018 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Georgan G A great Marlene Dietrich film during which she plays a spy based on Mata Hari. Her piano playing is shown as well as music writing abilities, which acts as a code. Heroine to the end, {SPOILER} she allows her captive to escape, dooming herself to the firing squad. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 08/15/23 Full Review david l Dishonored is a spy movie that was ahead of its time in its feminist overtones and interesting espionage elements. The main performance from Dietrich was also reliably terrific. However, this is far from the best Sternberg-Dietrich collaborations as the movie piled up each plot point on top of another with no proper context, stronger characterization or emotional investment. It also needed a longer runtime for its overly complicated storyline. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member In the spy thriller, Dishonored, von Sternberg continued to push Dietrich's cold aloof qualities in tantalizing new ways. As the slippery Austrian spy X-27, she matches more than wits with a Russian colonel played by future John Ford favorite, Victor McLagen. Predating his Oscar win for 1936's The Informant, this is McLagen as a dashing leading man, many years before Ford played him up as a boorish second banana to John Wayne in his Cavalry trilogy. In Dishonored, however, he seems all too happy to fall in line as second banana to rapidly rising star Marlene Dietrich. Dishonored is a decently indecent spy thriller, and an even better Dietrich/von Sternberg entry. Still early in their ongoing collaboration, there's room for improvement, yes. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review matthew d A dazzlingly modern spy film. Josef von Sternberg's espionage thriller Dishonored (1931) is outstanding and original with a feminist perspective on female spies and wartime romance. Josef von Sternberg and Daniel Nathan Rubin's fascinating writing revels in wit and enigma with a riveting story that involves a prostitute named Magda becoming a lady spy like James Bond. Dishonored is entertaining, cool, and crafty in Sternberg's neat tricks and surprises. Hans Drier's art direction is stunning with lovely scenes like stark rooms echoing with piano melodies and an execution during snowfall. Karl Hojas and Herman Hand's score is enthusiastic alongside dreamy classical pieces throughout Dishonored. Sternberg's taste in music was impeccable. The classical music helps keep Dishonored moving at breakneck speed. I loved this film with Josef von Sternberg helming a finely tuned statement of poetic romance and brutally honest espionage. Sternberg's direction is beautiful with marvelously creative style and class for his spy picture. It's very efficient in his brisk pace and carefully intricate tale of intrigue and information at a tight 91 minutes long. Sternberg also edited his film with these wonderful fades into the next shot, sometimes splicing in a quick frame of Marlene Dietrich or her cute black cat. Sternberg's direction is very dark and atmospheric with mysterious smoke or heavenly lighting all over. Lee Garmes' cinematography uses these excellently gripping wide shots and his vivid sudden close-ups to startle and amaze the audience. Much of the filmmaking techniques used here by Josef von Sternberg would not be common again until the 1970's style of auteurs. He was a true genius as director, writer, and editor here for Dishonored. Marlene Dietrich is fantastic in Dishonored as a lady of the night named Magda, who transforms herself into a seductress for her country all in the name of patriotism. Her spy X-27 is remarkably suave, sultry, and playful like a female James Bond with more charisma and cunning. Dietrich lets you believe this jaded woman could fall in love with her dazzling eyes glinting with mischief and lust. Her faintest quiver of the lip or twirl of her hand is as alluring as Dietrich's funny saunter and sexy German accent. She plays an Austrian spy, so her iconic German voice fits the part nicely. She is truly gorgeous and versatile as she lounges around, bursts into passionate piano playing, or fills the room with dour romance and hopelessly romantic mood. Travis Banton's glittery dresses and feminine dresses for Dietrich are outlandish and playful, befitting Marlene's femme fatale persona. She was a real dream in Dishonored. Victor McLaglan is quite enjoyable as the Russian Colonel Kranau and Soviet spy that contends with Marlene's charms. He's almost charming, but gleefully charismatic and memorable. Gustav von Seyferrtitz is very funny as the stern Austrian Secret Service Chief. Warner Oland is interesting as the first traitor to Austria that Marlene must uncover evidence against with his boisterous personality. Opposite her dreamily dreary German personality, Oland is pretty fun as a foil for Marlene Dietrich. She steals every moment of every scene. In short, Dishonored is a classic espionage thriller for fans of the spy genre with Sternberg's seedy spy story and Marlene Dietrich's unforgettable glance. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review david f I like the Dietrich/Von Sternberg movies but this one was probably the weakest because the spy story is just kind of weird. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Marred by a bad story, Marlene and von Sternberg nevertheless deliver visually intoxicating scenes and electric sexuality. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/13/23 Full Review Read all reviews

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Movie Info

Synopsis A streetwalker (Marlene Dietrich) in World War I Vienna becomes spy X-27, opposite Russian spy H-14 (Victor McLaglen).
Josef von Sternberg
Original Language
Release Date (DVD)
Nov 1, 2012
1h 31m