Song of Songs, The (1933): Mamoulian’s Third, Sound Version, Starring Marlene Dietrich

Rouben Mamoulian directed in 1933 The Song of Songs, a remake of the 1918 silent film of the same name starring Elsie Ferguson, and the 1924 silent film (which was titled “Lily of the Dust”) with Pola Negri.

This particular version also draws on Herman Sudermann’s 1908 novel The Song of Songs, and Edward Sheldon’s 1914 play.

But mostly it is a star vehicle for Marlene Dietrich, who plays Lily, an initially naive German peasant who moves to the big city of Berlin.

In Berlin, Lily meets and poses for Richard (Brian Aherne), her sculptor neighbor. After a romance, Lily goes on to marry one of Richard’s wealthy clients, Baron von Merzbach. By the end of the story, however, Lily and Richard are reunited.

Despite star power, the film was a box office failure for Paramount.


Lily Czepanek….Marlene Dietrich

Richard Waldow…Brian Aherne

Baron von Merzbach….Lionel Atwill

Mrs. Rasmussen….Alison Skipworth