Josef Von Sternberg Joyce Rheuban - Essay

Joyce Rheuban

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Between the lines of [Sternberg's autobiography, Fun in a Chinese Laundry,] and behind the images of the films, one may detect the constant contention of discipline versus indulgence; intellect versus faith or the inexplicable; civilisation versus the savage or exotic; and the tendency to conceal versus the tendency to reveal. Finally, there is the role of Sternberg as artist: 'scientist' versus 'vamp'. These roles are paralleled in the projections of himself in his characters, generally as man versus woman. Within Sternberg the artist and the man, the two sides seem to vie for ascendancy. In the films, these contradictory personal proclivities are externalised personified to fight it out on the screen; and the...

(The entire section is 1547 words.)