(DVD/Blu-Ray) While Marlene Dietrich’s breakout film was THE BLUE ANGEL (1930) and the first of several films she’d make with director Josef von Sterberg, and while Sternberg’s MOROCCO (also 1930) was her first American film — and also featured her in a tuxedo — it’s Sternberg’s SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932) that I think of when I think of Dietrich. It’s the pinnacle of his layered use of sets and textures and Dietrich’s unique ‘butterfly’ lighting style, resulting in a film that looked like nothing anyone had seen at the time, and is often copied, especially the film’s use of netting, feathers, lace, etc.

(More on butterfly lighting: )

Warning: certain facets of this film have not aged well, as you may be able to glean from the trailer or, hell, just the film’s title.