Marlene Dietrich was holding infant David James when she tripped over some prop toys on the set of The Lady Is Willing (1942), a story about a Broadway star who is transformed by maternal love for an abandoned baby.
Conscious of the vulnerable baby in her arms, Marlene whirled around and took a painful fall that fractured her ankle. Her split-second decision to absorb the impact of the fall ensured that baby David remained perfectly unharmed.
Marlene was immediately rushed to the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital where the left of her iconic legs was put into a hefty plaster cast. She could now only be photographed in close-up for the rest of filming.
When production moved to New York for location shooting a month later the famous ankle was almost fully healed and only required taping up. Stepping off the train at Grand Central Station, Marlene whispered to a press representative, “Watch Mama make the front pages of every paper in New York.”
Marlene—having cleverly borrowed director Mitchell Leisen’s ornate walking stick—proceeded to stand for photographers and “described in excruciating detail her baby-saving accident.”
Marlene Dietrich modeling costumes for The Devil is a Woman (1935)
Favourite Films » A Foreign Affair (1948)
Listen my children and you shall hear, of the midnight ride of Paul Revere. On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five; hardly a man is now alive who remembers that famous day and year. He said to his friend, “If the British march by land or sea from the town to-night, hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch of the North Church tower as a signal light - One if by land, and two if by sea; and I on the opposite shore will be, ready to ride and spread the alarm through every Middlesex village and farm, for the country folk to be up and to arm.” Then he said “Good-night!” and with muffled oar silent…
Marlene Dietrich in her dressing room before the Edinburgh Festival, 1964
"Dancing, music, champagne. The best way to forget until you find something you want to remember."- Marlene Dietrich.
There’s a wind blowing - my lamp has gone out and I’m cold. Jean - my beloved, I love you. My heart that loves you is stronger than all the dangers of the war, and the misery of a life without you is greater than all the suffering in this world. I need your arms, the warmth of your body. I need you in order to live - my adored angel - come back and don’t say ‘If we meet again…’
Extract from Marlene Dietrich’s diary