The Scarlet Empress + Flaming Creatures
Saturday, Nov 13, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Location: Redstone Theater
The Scarlet Empress
Dir. Josef von Sternberg. 1934, 104 mins. With Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Sam Jaffe. A notorious box-office flop in its day, Sternberg’s The Scarlet Empress has been reclaimed as one of the greatest of the director’s legendary collaborations with Dietrich, and certainly the most lavish. As a heavily fictionalized version of Catherine the Great, the Prussian princess who was brought to Russia to marry the Grand Duke Peter (portrayed by Sam Jaffe as a grotesque simpleton) and bear him a child, Dietrich grows from wide-eyed innocent to imperious ruler, her rise framed by Sternberg’s grandiose camerawork and wildly baroque set design. A work of frenetic, mad genius, The Scarlet Empress is a cornerstone of Hollywood excess from one of the industry’s greatest, boldest practitioners.
Dir. Jack Smith. 1963, 43 mins. With Francis Francine, Sheila Bick, Mario Montez, Joel Markman. Deemed obscene by the State of New York, Smith’s revolutionary and elusive avant-garde masterpiece Flaming Creatures was shot on expired black-and-white film stock, reproducing some of Hollywood’s golden days on a Lower East Side rooftop. Smith gives his actors the freedom to preen, dance, and playfully inhabit the rapturous and exotic fantasies of Hollywood cinema. This landmark of queer cinema remains an unparalleled riot of experimental film.
Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / discounted for MoMI members ($7–$11). Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.