Sternberg's first Hollywood film with Dietrich looks like a deliberate reversal of their first collaboration on The Blue Angel the year before in Germany. Dietrich plays another sumptuous vamp, but this time one who is retreating from her past by taking a one-way ticket to Morocco... as although she runs delicately cruel rings around Menjou's affection for her, she ultimately sacrifices everything for the man she truly loves, legionnaire Gary Cooper. It's been customary to dismiss Sternberg's 'absurd' plots as mere vehicles for his experiments with lighting and decor, and his loving explorations of Dietrich's visual and emotional possibilities. The truth is that films like Morocco are completely homogeneous: the plotting and acting are in exactly the same expressionist register as everything else. Here, the highly nuanced portraits of men and a woman caught between the codes they live by and their deepest, secret impulses, remain very moving and 100 per cent modern.