Edith & Marlene: Autobiography, Representation & Context



In 2007, actors Marion Cotillard and Caroline Sihol shared a scene playing French singer and actor Edith Piaf and German singer and actor Marlene Dietrich in Olivier Dahan’s film biopic, La Môme.1 After ‘Piaf’ is shown performing her signature song ‘La Vie en Rose’ to an American audience, ‘Dietrich’ presents herself to her for the first time:

“I haven’t been to Paris for ages. But this evening, when you were singing, Edith, I was there. In the streets, beneath its sky. Your voice is the soul of Paris. You took me on a journey. You made me cry.”2

This scene is pivotal within the narrative as it depict both Piaf’s rise to international stardom, and suggests that this moment is key to her legend as a ‘quintessentially French’ icon.3 In keeping with the other chronologically disjointed and montaged scenes within the narrative, no precise date is given of this post-war event. This scene is presented as representing a fragment of Piaf’s life, a technique employed by Dahan to order not only to suggest they are the reflective memories evoked by the singer prior to her death, but also as a practical means by which to explore moments from the singer’s whole life within an 140 minute film. The two previous biopic films that dealt with Piaf’s life, Piaf (1974) and Édith et Marcel(1983), provide only partial accounts of her life: the former her pre-war life and the latter her post. Despite all being produced, written and directed in France, none of these biopic films drew upon Piaf’s wartime career, despite it being central to the biographies from which their narratives were heavily shaped. Moreover, Piaf’s wartime career has played a central role within biopics made in other countries, such as Pam Gem’s play Piaf (1978). Although Gem’s play was a commercial success in both the UK and USA, it was not well received during its brief run in Paris.4

Receiving critical acclaim in the U.S, Gem’s Piaf also featured scenes between the singer and Dietrich, and forefronts both women’s wartime careers within its narrative. Dietrich’s war has been far more visible within the biopics that depict her life, none more so than in Joseph Vilsmaier’s German film Marlene (2000), drawn also from a biographical text. Its approach is far removed from the provocative West German film Adolf und Marlene (1977), directed by Ulli Lommel, in which Dietrich is portrayed as collaborating with Hitler as both his lover and nemesis. Her distance from Germany before the Second World War has been highlighted in these biopics, particularly Vilsmaier’s Marlene, with large sections of the narrative dedicated to her war work for the U.S Military (see plate 1).


(Plate 1: Katja Flint as Dietrich in Marlene (2000))

This essay is not concerned so much with the historical ‘accuracy’ of the cultural depictions of Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich’s war careers, but rather with how the narratives relate to the cultural and political context within which they were themselves created. Moreover, it suggests that they can provide markers to understand how this context relates to the contemporary historical and cultural discourses between resistance and collaboration at their time of production. I will firstly consider how the autobiographical accounts of these iconic women influenced their biopic portrays of their wartime experiences. I will then consider how subsequent revisionist biographies problematised their autobiographical narratives, and effected subsequent biopic portrayals of their lives. I will analyse the West German film Adolf und Marlene (1977) and the British biopic play Piaf (1978) and will map their relationship to the distinct political and cultural climates within which these biopic texts were read. I will suggest that contemporary notions pertaining to these women’s sexualities and gender were utilised to elucidate contemporary concerns pertaining to national histories of resistance and collaboration during the Second World War. Moreover, I will argue that biopic depictions of these ‘icons’ have been re-shaped by notions of national identity at times of significant climates of political and cultural change.

Revisionist challenges to Autobiography


(Plate 2 – Piaf’s coffin is carried through Pere Lachaise cemetery, 1963, in Marcel Blistene’s Edith Piaf: A Life of Passion (1967))

In 1967 Marcel Blistene produced a documentary of Edith Piaf’s life for French television. Its narrative, drawn from Edith Piaf’s autobiographical text, Piaf (1958), is illuminated by film recordings of Piaf performing on French and U.S television and film footage of her large public funeral in Paris in 1963 (plate 2).5 The documentary suggests that these images of the chanteuse and those that mourned her death that were emblematic of a ‘French’ national identity. Piaf’s war is overlooked in television documentary, just as it is largely absent from Piaf’s own autobiography. The most significant attention that Piaf provided to the war in her posthumously published and dictated autobiography suggests that it was spent entertaining troops and in raising money for ‘the families of 50 French soldiers’ who had ‘recently been killed when their stalag was bombed.’6 It is important here to consider the political and cultural context within which Piaf’s biography was written, and consider the effect that this had upon the composure of its narrative.

Dictated in a New York hotel at the height of the post-war McCarthy trials, Piaf’s omission of her war stories are as much a reflection of the McCarthyite purge upon communism as they had been imperative narratives to share in the context of immediate post-war France. As Philip Jenkins has illuminated, there is significant scholarship relating to the ‘Hollywood Ten’, who have become iconic ‘martyrs’ to McCarthy’s purge on communism in the U.S. Moreover, as Schrecker demonstrates, this purge included the unofficial ban from employment for more than three hundred actors, authors and directors in 1950s America.78 Directors and authors, such as Bertolt Brecht, were faced with either the public denial of their political allegiances or risk their commercial success in Hollywood. As Piaf’s post-war success relied upon U.S acclaim, it is essential to recognise that histories of Resistance were as damaging in the U.S context of McCartyism as they had been essential in the post-war context of post-war France. It is significant also that many of Piaf’s other biographies were written by those who knew her and who had faced charges of collaboration in the immediacy of post-war France.9 These efforts were also far more forthcoming in documenting stories of how Piaf had described her life and career in both Zone Occupée and Vichy France in the context of this particular post-war moment. Her childhood friend, Simone Berteaut, recounted numerous significant events in her own biographical text, such as performing alongside Maurice Chevalier in a Red Cross fund-raising event to help the war effort four days prior to France’s occupation.10 She details how Piaf and her had resided in a brothel owned by ‘Madame Billy’, who hid a number of Jews and Resistance members within the same lodgings that were used to entertain German troops during the singers rehearsals.11 Moreover, the actor and singer Yves Montand recounted how Piaf had on the one hand worked for the Resistance, touring prisoner of war camps and saving 120 prisoners by providing them with false papers and fake passports. He also claimed that she had also stopped a Resistance fighter from blowing up a ‘line of tanks transporting German soldiers at the liberation of Paris.’12 These additional colourings have been added to the somewhat vague picture in which Piaf addressed her war experience in her own account, and have became the central narratives from which subsequent biographies of Piaf have drawn.13 These war narratives did not, as I have stated, colour any of the French film biopics of Piaf, but were drawn upon heavily in Pam Gem’s Piaf (1978). The recent publication, Piaf, un mythe français (2013), empirically engaged with the validity of both Piaf’s own accounts and those of whom shared by her contemporaries. Robert Belleret, a former journalist for Le Monde, claims that rather than working for the Resistance, archival records show that Piaf’s war was predominantly spent entertaining occupying German troops.14 Furthermore, he suggests that the efforts of Piaf and her contemporaries to disguise this fact were to repel charges of collaboration in the political context of post-war France.15


(Plate 3: Der Spiegel, 19th June 2000)

These revisions to of Piaf’s autobiographical narrative shares many similarities with those found within the more extensive historiography of Dietrich. Her earlier biographies often focused upon the war work that she undertook for the Morale Operations Branch of the Office of Strategic Services for the US Army.16 They also quote Dietrich’s own autobiographical assertion that she had refused to return to Germany after having received offers to do so by representatives from the ‘Nazi Party’, and that this invitation was the catalyst for her adopting American citizenship in 1939.17 Maria Riva’s 1992 biography of her mother (Dietrich) utilised the actresses unpublished diaries to problematise both her Mother’s and other biographers claims that Dietrich had rescued her sister from Belsen. Rather, Riva claims, her mother allowed people to believe her mother had meant the concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen, rather than the south-western town from the camp from which it derived its name, Belsen:

“My mother never changed her story. The power of “the legend” was such that whenever Dietrich dramatically announced that she had found her sister in Belsen, the listener had an instantaneous vision of gas ovens and cyanide showers-and she let them.”18

This claim was elucidated further when members of the British troops who had, in part, liberated Bergen-Belsen were interviewed and their testimonies were published in Der Spiegel in 2000 (plate 3). The testimonies, housed at the Imperial War Museum, verified that Dietrich had indeed been present at the liberation of the infamous concentration camp, but that her sister, Elisabeth Will, had worked alongside other members of Dietrich’s family in running a canteen and cinema:

“I was sitting at my desk and there appeared a very glamorous officer in an American uniform with a stream of blonde hair coming down from one side of her helmet. It was extraordinary to see a beautiful woman dressed like that. She introduced herself as Capt Marlene Dietrich of General Omar Bradley’s staff. I remember it word for word. It has stuck with me all these years. She asked about her sister. I then drove her off in a Jeep to see her. The sister had been peeling potatoes in a canteen. I introduced her and they embraced. They were very pleased to see each other.”19

Der Spiegel reflected that:

“The proximity [of the canteen] to the death camp, the permanent contact with SS concentration camp overseers and the financial rewards they received from the canteen put them, morally, close to the Nazis. This relationship could damage Marlene’s fame.” (Plate 4)20

Independent of government, industry and unions, Der Spiegel – a popular West German news magazine –was criticised by Hans Magnus Enzensberger in the 1970s for not engaging with critical analysis of its historic past: “The German news magazine is not a news magazine. Der Spiegel does not engage in critical analysis, but rather in its surrogate. The reader of Der Spiegel is not informed, but rather disorientated.”21As has been well historicised, Der Spiegel responded to this criticism during the distribution of the televison series Holocaust (1979), when it engage with the cultural depiction and the historical events from which it was drawn – famously having to define the word as “mass murder” as the word Holocaust had yet to gain wide circulation within Europe or North America.22 Its close attention to and criticism of the 2000 film Marlene, and its attempts to correct the historical record behind the biopic,should similarly be recognsed as part of cultural and political shift in how culture attempts to make sense of the past through the authenticity of biographic testimony.


(Plate 4: Former canteen quarters of the German army converted into displaced persons housing. Bergen-Belsen, Germany, May 1945. in Der Spigel )

That Dietrich had attempted to distance herself from her families war work by emphasising her own resistance efforts is a defining facet of the biographical process, being ‘the textual representation of experience and a textually constructed self.’23As Lois Banner notes, revisionism to biography has often “challenge[d] the notion of “nation” itself, opening up the field of history to the possibility of new frameworks.”24 As I will now demonstrate, the filmed and staged biopic depictions of these narratives are in and of themselves key sources by which we can better understand the significance of biography to notions of “nation”. Moreover, I suggest that their place within cultivating these notions has often been integral in shaping the revisions of biographical texts.

Adolf und Marlene (1977)


(Plate 5: Margit Carstensen as Marlene Dietrich and Kurt Raab as Führer in Adolf und Marlene (1977))

The context within which Ulli Lommel wrote and directed his 1977 film Adolf und Marlene (plate 5)are essential in understanding Dietrich’s liable suit against its publication and her subsequent autobiographical accounts of her war work. Born in Bad Nauheim during the Soviet occupation, Lommel’s father Ludwig had been a ‘hugely popular radio comedian during the late Weimar and National Socialist years.’25 In an interview with Rory MacLean in 2012, Lommel recalled that:

In those years East Germany was living in denial. The Nazi time was never mentioned, not at school, not in the home. It was stuffy, almost unbearable. I felt as if something wasn’t right.’26

Lommel locates his desire to understand ‘the enemy’ within his films to his relationship with his father, who reported his 14 year old son to East German authorities when he had run away to West Berlin. The young Lommel’s last telephone call to his father comprised of a single sentence: ‘How could you do this to me, you old Nazi?’ Three years later the elder Lommel died, father and son never having spoken again.27 Reflecting upon this event, Lommel attributes it to the method with which he approached writing and directing films:

‘The reasons for our choices can be conscious and unconscious, and early experiences often shape the course of a life. Since my childhood I’ve felt uneasy with the demonising of an enemy. In my work I find myself standing up for the outsider, the accused.Again and again I want to understand their perspective.’28

Lommel’s Adolf und Marlene, a speculative drama about the relationship between Hitler and Marlene Dietrich, was a direct challenge to what he perceived to be an inability to address the war on Eastern Germany’s part, to ‘exposed those strange double standards, and as a reflection of West Germany’s buying into the capitalist dream.’29 Its method, the subversion of gender and character roles, were politically driven concepts in response to a cultural and political denial of the past.

Karolin Machtans has cited Adolf und Marlene as part of a broader trend of ‘radical experiments in demythification’ in West German film, which made ‘no pretence of historical veracity’.30 Its narrative re-imagined Hitler in ‘everyday’ scenarios, showing him sledding, swimming and masturbating. The character of Marlene accepts Hitler’s request for her to return to Nazi Germany in Lommel’s narrative. It draws heavily upon Dietrich’s inter-war Weimar image, and portrays her dominating Hitler by forcing him to ‘eat the carpet beneath her feet’ which was ‘covered in his own shit.’31 Hitler, who is eventually cut into pieces with an axe, is quickly supplanted by Eva Braun, who ‘takes over’ Hitler’s moustache ‘and with it his political authority, ousting Göring and marrying Magda Goebells.’32 The use of lesbianism to subvert the historical narrative capitalised upon Dietrich’s film career in Germany, particularly her works with director Josef von Sternberg. The narrative bares similarities to Dietrich’s ‘breakthrough’ role as Lola Lola, a cabaret singer who instigates the downfall of a hitherto respected schoolmaster in UFA’s production Der blaue Engel (1930). It also drew heavily upon her iconic Oscar nominated performance in Sterberg’s Morocco (1930) in which she famously performed a song dressed in a ‘man’s white tie’ and kissed another woman. By detaching itself from ‘historical veracity’ of Dietrich’s war experience whilst heavily attaching itself to her cultural iconography, Lommel’s anarchic film used stock footage of both Hitler and Dietrich works to authenticate his subversive narrative, allowing it to critique the concepts of ‘nation’ to which it fundamentally opposed. The film was ‘quietly screened’ at the Cannes Film Festival (1977), and its low profile was in reaction to the courtroom proceedings that Dietrich had taken to prevent the films release, the film being screened before any resolution had been made.33 Andy Warhol was present at the covert screening, and began a collaborative project with Lommel. His recollections of his move to the U.S following Adolf und Marlene further illuminate his own shifts in conceptions of ‘nation’ at this particular time:

‘In the early 70s – after the murder of Kennedy and King and with the Vietnam War – I was one of those people for whom America was no good. But when I moved to the States I began to see a much more complex picture. I felt a kind of freedom there that I’d never found in Europe.’34

Dietrich’s failed attempt to prevent its release and her subsequent impulse to document her wartime career in her autobiography also speaks to the necessity to acknowledge the need to read the gendered difference within the construction such texts. As Carol Steedman suggests, the historian cannot fail but to account for gender difference in the composure of autobiographical texts. As she argues, they are ‘stories made for ourselves, and the socially specificity of our understanding of these stories.’35 As Collet further suggests;

“This autobiographical self is not false, but is a positive act of creation and social recognition. From being an object in others’ eyes, she becomes the subject of her story.”36

It is only by considering the difference with which women were able to construct narratives of their lives that we can comprehend their cultural significance as texts. In the case of Adolf und Marlene, its own distinct understanding of the cultural and political climate of which it subverts in turn compelled Dietrich to construct her own form of social recognition, and to remain the subject of ‘her own story’ and not that of her families. Pam Gem’s Piaf attempted to draw upon the autobiographical accounts of the singers life to demonstrate how her iconic status as a mythologised voice of a ‘nation’ were socially constructed for her buy patriarchy. However, as I will demonstrate, it is only when the historical revision of biographical works illuminate the writers own self-constructed ‘story’ that we can begin to measure the force by which political and cultural climates have shaped the construction of their narratives.

Piaf (1978)


(Plate 6: Jane Lapotaire and Zoë Wanamaker in Pam Gem’s Piaf (1978))

In 1981 Jane Lapotaire was awarded the Tony Award for best actress as Edith Piaf in Pam Gem’s biopic play Piaf (1978 – Plate 6). Having transferred to Broadway from its 1978 UK premier at the RSC’s Other Place and residency at the Donmar Warehouse, the production was subsequently filmed and televised in 1984.37 In keeping with many productions championed by the Donmar Warehouse, the scenery for the show evoked the ‘‘unsettling mix of heady glamour and backstreet crudity’’ that characterised the text.38 Gem’s Piaf was not intended to be a musical of the stars life, as it appeared in its 1996 revival starring Elaine Paige. Lapotaire’s Piaf sang both in English and French (as did Piaf when performing in the U.S) and spoke in a thick cockney accent. The songs that were sang by Lapotaire were incorporated into the narratives of the play, suggesting that they were written autobiographically. The decisions to both cast Lapotaire as Piaf, and to draw upon a Brechtian aesthetic for its setting speak to politics of Gem’s constructionist approach, and the culture of the post-Brecht revival. As William Gruber demonstrates, in attempting to document Piaf’s ‘seamy side’, Gems seeks to do far more than to ‘reclaim the “real” Piaf from the legends that have become attached to her.’ It is demonstrated throughout the play the extent to which Piaf’s identity was not her own ‘but something constructed for her.’39 Gems openly uses Brechtian digectic markers, with her iconic ‘French’ songs anglicised and ‘impeding the process of events’ to reinforce this recognition.40 It is, however, important to understand that Gems narrative is extracted from biographical accounts of Piaf’s life, particularly her career during the war. I will now suggest that by doing so, her conception was in keeping with a particular political and cultural climate of theatrical thought in British and American cultural landscapes that were removed from that of France. Moreover, I will demonstrate how this not only relates to Frances own preoccupation with its national past and the ways it has been remembered, but that by tracing subsequent shifts in these conceptions of national identity we can better understand the original authors autobiographical composure.

That Gem’s chose a Brechtian conception of Piaf’s life can be situated within the political challenges of a number of theatrical ensembles concerned with feminist, queer and ethnic discourses in the 1980s and 1990s.41 Whilst this essay is not concerned with the well established discourses pertaining to particular models of Brecht’s ‘Revolutionary Art’, it is important to recognise the role that Marxism played for him as a ‘productive source of ideas both to understand the work and to revolutionize art,’ as Kellner demonstrates.42 Whilst this same imperative has been well attributed to Brechtian popularity within political and cultural discourses in Britain and the U.S, it is also important to note that the alternative theatre of the 1980s was accompanied by a ‘new consumer-orientated attitude to cultural production in the subsided theatre.’43 Whilst many contemporaneous cuts in theatre funding during the 1980s was realised for more radical groups, funded institutions such as Donmar Warehouse thrived upon making popular Brecht’s aesthetic whilst retreating from its political confrontation.44 Eddishaw suggests that this departure from Brecht’s own particular form of political confrontation necessarily means that they were de-politicised:

“… most British alternative – or more properly avant-garde – companies of the 1980s, unlike Brecht, did not have a socio-political purpose in their work. They were often more concerned with the form than content, interested in popular forms and styles of communication.”45

I suggests that rather than defining this departure, by Donmar and their contemporaries, as apolitical, it should be seen as part of a revival of the thoughts of McLuhan into post-modern thinking of the early 1980s, when the production of Piaf received its international U.S acclaim. As McLuhan had influentially asserted in his Understanding Media (1964), a medium affects societies within which it plays a role, not only by the content gained from the mediums transition, but also by the characteristics of the medium itself, and their implications.46 As Glenn Willmot describes, McLuhan’s works found a new resonance during the latter half of the 1970s and subsequently through the 80s and 90s. He describes McLuhan’s work as providing precedent for the “more performative, subjective and textual-poetic critical practices of postmodern scholarship.’47 If Gems Piaf can be situated at both this commercial shift in political theatre in the 1980s and within its complex post-modern interpretations of historically specific theories, its incongruity within France’s cultural climate is precisely due to the context of its production.

The questions surrounding French national past and its representations during the twentieth century have been widely debated in academic discourse, including stage and film productions of the 1980s, when Gem’s Piaf was poorly received in Paris.48 As Green has observed, rétro films of the 1970s and 1980s, which ‘marked a new willingness to explore the sombre realities of the Vichy era’, marked a challenge to ‘traditional images of French past even as they underscored fundamental divisions at work in French society.’49 Citing the context of the gauchiste –oranti-authoritarian New Left – the cultural potency of Mai 68 and the new cultural history of l’histoire des mentalités, as the political and cultural context of rétro films’ emergence.50 It is striking, then, that this willingness to explore what has been coined the Vichy Syndrome within the artistic form was not to be found within Gem’s particular medium. Moreover, the incongruities within the biographical narratives of Piaf’s life that had emerged since her death in 1962, were emblematic of the problematic ambiguities that ‘reflected the the persistence of certain fault lines, the immense difficulty of coming to terms with one of the most divisive and troubling moments of French history.’51


Marion Cottillard’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Piaf in La Môme (2007) is the latest in a series of French biopic films that have resisted the autobiographical accounts of the chanteuses’ wartime career in both Zone Occupée and Vichy France since her death in 1962. Although Olivier Dahan filmed many of Piaf’s accounts, drawn from biographical texts, they were edited out of the final cut of the film. It is also important to recognise the prominence with which America is featured within the films narrative. Although Piaf made many tours of the U.S, and dictated her biography during its MaCarthyite purge of homosexuals and communists, she did not, as the film suggests, meet Dietrich in America in the 1950s, but during the liberation of France in 1945. As a French-Canadian collaborative production, La Môme was able to capitalise upon the singers ‘iconic’ sense of French-national identity, by removing her own ambiguous narrative of her life, and by omitting those who problematised their validity. Re-branded for U.S and UK audiences as La Vie en Rose, Dahan’s biopic suggests continuities – or fault lines – within the cultural acceptance and depictions of this specific moment in the French National past. It can be more readily defined as related to rather than differing from the other French biopics of Piaf’s life. Pam Gem’s biopic demonstrates the significant gap between national conceptions of national pasts at the time of its production. Moreover, recent French biographical revisionism, such as Belleret’s Piaf, un mythe français (2013), denotes another significant marker of ‘willingness’ to explore the complex and historically specific conceptions between resistance, collaboration and national memory. The German-produced biopic Marlene (2000), in which Dietrich;s war is portrayed closely to her autobiographical account, provoked Der Spiegel into questioning the historical integrity of both the depiction and the autobiographical text that inspired it. As I have demonstrated, this autobiographical text itself was a reaction against the publication of Adolf und Marlene (1977), and had compelled Dietrich to construct her own form of social recognition; to remain the subject of ‘her own story’ and politics, and not that of her family.

Fundamentally, this essay suggests that the text by which we understand biopic depictions of autobiography should be read with an acute attention to the gender of the author and the social and political climates within which life history narratives are composed. It argues that contemporary concerns pertaining to national identity and its historical past can be elucidated by locating autobiographical texts within their socio-historically specific culture. Drawing upon the reflections of Andy Medhurst, who stated in 1984 that ‘no reputable study of a text can be made without a detailed consideration of the cultural, historical and social formations operative at the moment of its production’, I suggest that the autobiographical framework from which biopic texts draw narratives must also be included within this process to better understand the context of its politics.52


Primary sources


Berteaut, S, Piaf: A Biography, 1st ed. (Harper & Row, 1972)

Dietrich, M. My Life, 1st ed. (Wieldfeld & Nicholson, 1989)

McLuhan, M, Understanding Media, 2nd ed. (Routledge, 2001)

Montand, Y, Montand raconte Montand, 3rd ed. (Seuil, 2001)

Piaf, E, Owen, P (Translator). Piaf, 2nd ed. (Chilton Books, 1965)

Riva, M. Marlene Dietrich, 2nd ed. (Ballantine Books, 1998)

Steedman, C. Landscape for a good Woman: The Story of Two Lives, 1st ed. (Virago, 1986)


Edith et Marcel, Dir. Claude Leloch, Pef. Evelyne Bouix(1983)

Marlene, Dir. Joseph Vilsmaier, Perf. Katja Flint(2000)

La Môme, Dir. Olivier Dahan, Perf. Marion Cotillard, (2006)

Piaf, Dir. Guy Casaril, Perf. Brigitte Ariel (1974)

Piaf Dir. Robert Christian, Perf. Jane Lapotaire (1984)


Gems, P. Piaf, 2nd ed. (Penguin, 1986)


Edith Piaf: A life of Passion, Dir. Marcel Blistene, Perf. Edith Piaf, France, 1967, DVD Umbrella Entertainment, 2004


The Telegraph, 20th June, 2007


Der Spiegel, 19th June 2000

Enzenberger, H, ‘Die Sprache des Spiegel’ in Einzelheiten I: Bewußtseins-Industrie,

Imperial War Museum

IWM, Horwell, Arnold Raphael, catalogue number 15432,Cassette, 1995-05-12

Secondary sources


Bach, S, Marlene Detrich: Life & Legend, (University of Minnesota Press, 2013)

Belleret, R. Piaf, un mythe français, (Fayard, 2013)

Brett, D, Piaf: A Passionate Life, (Robson Books, 1999)

Burke, C, No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf, (Knopf, 2011)

Collett, T and Easton, Women, Power and Resistance (Open University Press, 1996)

Eddishaw, M, Performing Brecht, (Routledge, 1996)

Greene, N. Landscapes of Loss: The National Past in Postwar French Cinema, (Princeton University Press, 2009)

Godiwala, D, Queer Mythologies: The Original Stageplays of Pam Gems, (Intellect, 2006)

Gruber, W. Offstage Space, Narrative, and the Theatre of the Imagination, (Palgrave, Macmillan, 2010)

Jenkins, P. The Cold War at Home: The Red Scare in Pennsylvania, 1945-1960, 1st ed. (The University of North Carolina Press, 1999)

Kershaw, B, The Politics of Performance, (Routledge, 1992)

Lambert, D. and Lester, A, eds., Colonial Lives across the British Empire: Imperial Careering in the Long Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 2006)

Machtans, K, Hitler – Films from Germany: History, Cinema and Politics since 1945, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)

Riding, A, And the Show Went On: Cultural life in Nazi-occupied Paris, (New York, 2010)

Riva, M. Marlene Dietrich, 2nd ed. (Ballantine Books, 1998)

Schrecker, E, Many are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America, 2nd ed. (Princeton University Press, 1999).

Steedman, C. Landscape for a good Woman: The Story of Two Lives, 1st ed. (Virago, 1986)

Willmott, G. McLuhan, or Modernism in Reverse, 2nd ed. (University of Toronto Press, 1996)

Wolfgang, M, “Getting History Right”, East and West German Collective Memories of the Holocaust and War, (Bucknell University Press, 2010)

Journal articles

Banner, L. ‘Biography as History’ in American Historical Review, 114 (3), 2009

Medhurst, A, ”Victim’: Text as Context’ in Screen, vol 25, no 4/5 (1984)

Internet sources

http://www.goethe.de/ins/gb/lp/prj/mtg/men/spi/lom/en9408609.htm Date accessed 18/4/2014

1La Môme was the original title for the film, released in 2007. When released in the UK and USA, it was retitled Le Vie en Rose, from the title of Piaf’s signature song. Dietrich subsequently covered this song during her latter stage and cabaret career.

2La Môme, Dir. Olivier Dahan, Perf. Marion Cotillard, 1:26:33 (Translation as appears in UK/US release subtitles)

3The Telegraph, 20th June, 2007, p.19

4Godiwala, D, Queer Mythologies: The Original Stageplays of Pam Gems, (Intellect, 2006) p.60

5Edith Piaf: A life of Passion, Dir. Marcel Blistene, Perf. Edith Piaf, France, 1967, DVD Umbrella Entertainment, 2004

6Piaf, E, Owen, P (Translator). Piaf, 2nd ed. (Chilton Books, 1965) p.54

7Jenkins, P. The Cold War at Home: The Red Scare in Pennsylvania, 1945-1960, 1st ed. (The University of North Carolina Press, 1999) p.3

8Schrecker, E, Many are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America, 2nd ed. (Princeton University Press, 1999). 267

9Riding, A, And the Show Went On: Cultural life in Nazi-occupied Paris, (New York, 2010) p112

10Berteaut, S, Piaf: A Biography, 1st ed. (Harper & Row, 1972) p.97

11Ibid, pp.99-102

12Montand, Y, Montand raconte Montand, 3rd ed. (Seuil, 2001) p.104

13See Burke, C, No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf, (Knopf, 2011), Berteaut, S, Piaf: A Biography, 1st ed. (Harper & Row, 1972) & Brett, D, Piaf: A Passionate Life, (Robson Books, 1999)

14Belleret, R. Piaf, un mythe français, (Fayard, 2013) p.84

15Ibid, p.

16See Riva, M. Marlene Dietrich, 2nd ed. (Ballantine Books, 1998,) & Bach, S, Marlene Detrich: Life & Legend, (University of Minnesota Press, 2013)

17Dietrich, M. My Life, 1st ed. (Wieldfeld & Nicholson, 1989) p.136

18Riva, M. Marlene Dietrich, 2nd ed. (Ballantine Books, 1998) p.574

19Der Spiegel, 19th June 2000, p.10

Also see IWM, Horwell, Arnold Raphael, catalogue number 15432,Cassette, 1995-05-12

20Der Spiegel, 19th June 2000, p.10

21Enzenberger, H, ‘Die Sprache des Spiegel’ in Einzelheiten I: Bewußtseins-Industrie, p.76.

22Wolfgang, M, “Getting History Right”, East and West German Collective Memories of the Holocaust and War, (Bucknell University Press, 2010) p.85

23Collett, T and Easton, Women, Power and Resistance (Open University Press, 1996) p.105

24 Banner, L. ‘Biography as History’ in American Historical Review, 114 (3), 2009 p.583

On the importance of biography to transnational history, see, for example, David Lambert and Alan Lester, eds., Colonial Lives across the British Empire: Imperial Careering in the Long Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 2006).





30 Machtans, K, Hitler – Films from Germany: History, Cinema and Politics since 1945, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) p.5


32Ibid, p.19


35Steedman, C. Landscape for a good Woman: The Story of Two Lives, 1st ed. (Virago, 1986) p.5

36Collett, T and Easton, R Women, Power and Resistance (Open University Press, 1996)

37Godiwala, D, Queer Mythologies: The Original Stageplays of Pam Gems, (Intellect, 2006) p.97

38Ibid, p.56

39Gruber, W. Offstage Space, Narrative, and the Theatre of the Imagination, (Palgrave, Macmillan, 2010) p.112


41Eddishaw, M, Performing Brecht, (Routledge, 1996) p.120

43Kershaw, B, The Politics of Performance, (Routledge, 1992) p.174

44Eddishaw, M, Performing Brecht, p.120

45Ibid, p.121

46McLuhan, M, Understanding Media, 2nd ed. (Routledge, 2001) p.8

47Willmott, G. McLuhan, or Modernism in Reverse, 2nd ed. (University of Toronto Press, 1996) p.60

48Godiwala, D, Queer Mythologies: The Original Stageplays of Pam Gems, (Intellect, 2006) p.60

49Greene, N. Landscapes of Loss: The National Past in Postwar French Cinema, (Princeton University Press, 2009) p.9



52 Medhurst, A, ”Victim’: Text as Context’ in Screen, vol 25, no 4/5 (1984) p.22





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s