With characteristic exaggeration, Sternberg himself wrote off Blonde Venus as a disaster. He made it (under protest) in response to studio pressure for another Dietrich vehicle, and seems to have attempted to work a number of autobiographical elements into its sprawling extremes of glamour and squalor. The film is certainly a mess at one level, with damaging fluctuations in tone and pace, and some ropey supporting performances, but it remains enough of a visual triumph to earn its place in the series of Dietrich movies. Dietrich is here not only married but also a mother, forced into a career as a nightclub singer to pay for her husband's medical fees, and then lured into an affair with playboy Grant. Her misadventures (including a flight into seedy hotels in the Deep South) are a bizarre mixture of fairytale and social-realist drama, snapping into sharpest focus when she performs the legendary 'Hot Voodoo' number while emerging from a gorilla-skin.