Marlene Dietrich Plays the Musical Saw (aka the Singing Saw) to Entertain the Troops During WWII

It’s not my favorite Mar­lene Diet­rich gem on the inter­net. No, that would be her tem­pera­men­tal screen test for The Blue Angel  (1930). But it’s still a pre­cious find. Above, we have an audio clip fea­tur­ing Diet­rich, one of the tow­er­ing movie stars of ear­ly cin­e­ma, play­ing the musi­cal saw. Andrea James writes over at Boing­Bo­ing: “Diet­rich always want­ed to be a clas­si­cal musi­cian. Since her cabaret act and film career left lit­tle time for her to do the required prac­tice, she played the musi­cal saw instead. Through­out World War II she wowed USO audi­ences with the nov­el­ty.” And that’s what we get a taste of here. In oth­er clips avail­able on Youtube, you can find Diet­rich play­ing her “singing saw,” and again play­ing the musi­cal saw on the radio, cir­ca 1945.


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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ernest Hemingway’s “Love Let­ter” to His “Dear­est Kraut,” Mar­lene Diet­rich (1955)

Mar­lene Dietrich’s Tem­pera­men­tal Screen Test for The Blue Angel

101 Free Silent Films: The Great Clas­sics

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.