Marlene Dietrich plays the title role in “The Woman Men Yearn For,” a film directed in 1929 by Curtis Bernhardt. Charles boards a train with his wife to their honeymoon destination, but spots Marlene Dietrich’s character (Stascha) and instantly falls in love with her. Charles leaves his wife and the train to meet Stacha and her male companion (Karoff) at a hotel. Stacha introduces Charles as her cousin, but the stern Karoff becomes suspicious of Charles’ intentions. When Stacha reveals her and Karoff’s involvement in a murder, Charles plots to secure Stacha’s escape. But after a wild new year’s eve party, Karoff seeks revenge as the police close in.
The film features an exciting “reveal” as Charles glimpses Stascha through a train window. Dietrich and her beautiful face light up the screen and the seduction is complete — both Charles and the audience gasp in astonishment at the vision in the train window. Supposedly, Dietrich took up acting after a chamber orchestra fired her from the violin section because her pretty legs proved too distracting to the male members of the ensemble. I’m glad she took the same road as her fellow violinist, Jack Benny, and took up acting.