Synopsis by Mark Deming
Director Josef Von Sternberg and his greatest discovery, Marlene Dietrich, worked together for the last time on this historical melodrama, which was a notorious and controversial box-office flop in its day. Antonio Galvan (Cesar Romero), a young military officer, meets a mysterious and alluring woman named Concha Perez (Dietrich) and soon falls under her seductive spell. Antonio excitedly confesses his love for Concha to his friend Don Pasqual (Lionel Atwill), an older and higher-ranking officer. Pasqual is horrified when he learns of Antonio's infatuation; years ago, he met Concha, and it was the start of a long and disastrous relationship in which the cold-hearted woman would repeatedly lure him into her romantic web, drain him of his wealth, and then leave him for wealthier prospects elsewhere. While he has learned the hard way, Pasqual has never been able to cure himself of his addiction to Concha's charms, and when he encounters Concha with Antonio at a boisterous street festival, Pasqual is overcome with jealousy and challenges Antonio to a duel for Concha's affections. Shortly after The Devil Is a Woman's unsuccessful initial release, the United States State Department and the Spanish government both tendered objections to Paramount Pictures about what they felt were insulting depictions of the Spanish people and their leadership. Paramount pulled the film from circulation, and it was thought to be lost for some time until Dietrich provided a print from her personal collection for a Sternberg retrospective in 1959; the movie has since been released on home video. John Dos Passos co-authored the screenplay, based on a novel by Pierre Louys which Luis Bunuel later adapted as That Obscure Object of Desire.
vamp, love-affair, revolution, seduction, soldier, Spanish [nationality]