Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Marlene Dietrich.

Please click here to learn more about Marlene Dietrich.

The Lady Is Willing (1942). Directed by Mitchell Leisen. Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Fred MacMurray, Aline MacMahon and Stanley Ridges.

When famous Broadway actress Liza, finds an abandoned baby, she decides to take it home. The first thing she does, is call pediatrician Corey T. McBain, to examine the the baby. Liza, then announces her wish to adopt the baby, who she names "Corey". Her business manager, Kenneth Hanline, wants her to return the baby, because he thinks that the courts, will not give custody, to a unmarried woman. Ken, is also worried that Liza, could be arrested for kidnapping. It is not long, before Sgt. Barnes of the New York police department and the child welfare bureau, come knocking on Liza's door, looking for a woman who took a baby from a apartment building. Liza's, building manager accidentally lets the cat out of the bag, when he comes to inform Liza, that she has been given permission to build a nursery. Mrs. Cummings from the welfare bureau, allows her to keep the baby until the next morning.

Liza, decides on a marriage of convenience so she can adopt Corey. That evening, when the baby develops a rash, Liza, once again calls for the pediatrician. While the pediatrician, is looking over the baby, he shares with her that his true passion is research and that he only became a baby doctor, to make a living. Liza, shares with him her problem of wanting to keep the baby and proposes to him, a marriage of convenience. Liza, then promises the pediatrician, that he can use her renovated apartment to raise rabbits for his research, and he accepts. The pediatrician, leaves his medical practice to raise rabbits and things are going as planned, until one day, Joe and Nellie Quig and their lawyer, K. K. Miller, claim that they are child's real parents and offer to give them custody for $25,000, but pediatrician exposes the Quigs as frauds.

The marriage of convenience turns into a real marriage of love. When the pediatrician's ex-wife, also comes hanging around looking for money. Lisa, suspects that they are having an affair and leaves New York. The baby becomes seriously ill, will the illness bring the couple back together?

Fun Fact:

Early in the shooting, Marlene Dietrich severely injured her right ankle in a fall, and her entire right leg had to be placed in a cast. That's why in this film she is always shown in full-length outfits (gowns, slacks, etc.) and just one shot of her unclothed leg is seen, and that is in shadow.

Fred MacMurray, plays a very charming pediatrician and Dietrich showed how wonderful she was at comedy. Aline MacMahon, co-stars as a wise-cracking assistant to Dietrich.

Full Movie:


  1. I've always found "The Lady is Willing" something of an oddity among Dietrich films, but it has its moments and its interesting to see her opposite Fred MacMurray. TCM has put together an interesting mix of films for her "Summer Under the Stars" day today, and its nice to see more than her best-known classics included (though I wish "Destry Rides Again" was part of the schedule!). Dietrich fans should try to catch the documentary by her grandson David Riva - airing at 4:45 Eastern/1:45 Pacific today. Apparently much home movie footage included.

  2. Lady Eve, Thank you for letting us know about the Dietrich documentary, on TCM. It was really interesting and her daughter did a wonderful job sharing stories about her mother, who she looks a lot alike..

  3. "The Lady Is Willing" has a Paramount feel all over it (Dietrich, MacMurray, director Mitchell Leisen), but it was made at Columbia. Marlene is quite good in this comedy and has better chemistry with Fred than I expected, but this is the type of film that Claudette Colbert or Carole Lombard could have similarly handled. Solid, but not all that distinctive.

  4. I had the same thought.. when I first saw the film, Claudette Colbert, came to mind to play Marlene's part. Lombard, would have also been wonderful.


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