This song is filthy. There’s not a dirty word in it, but there’s not a doubt what Marlene Dietrich is talking about when she says she’s a “fast movin’ gal who likes ‘em slow.” Dietrich was one of Hollywood’s most boldly sexual stars, known as a femme fatale onscreen and off. It’s rare in our slut-shaming culture for a woman to be celebrated for her conquests, and Dietrich is one of those rare women. She reportedly seduced everyone from JFK to Greta Garbo, and then some. Lucky for her she lived in the pre-tabloid era, when the studios, in exchange for complete control over a star’s professional life, worked mightily to keep their private scandals safe from the prying eyes of the public. Thus stars back then were free to conduct themselves with utmost depravity without the awkwardness of having their every drunken fumble documented, broadcast and criticized before millions of people. Some scandals, like the Lana Turner stabbing, couldn’t be covered up, but most of what we know now didn’t become public until relatively recently. The full extent of Dietrich’s exploits weren’t known until her daughter’s memoir, published after the star’s death. But we didn’t have to know the details. Dietrich’s persona was saucy enough there was never any need for names to be named. The characters she played and the songs she sang weren’t too far from reality. She really was as tough, smart and liberated as a woman could be, years ahead of her time. When she sings about her desires there’s no pretense of innocence. Some stars led double lives, like Doris Day, whose clean-scrubbed image belied the hard times she’s suffered privately. Marlene Dietrich’s image as a glamorous, dangerous, smart talking broad who took what she wanted may have been exaggerated and polished by Hollywood mythmaking, but it wasn’t entirely untrue. Maybe that’s why her memory is still so strong with us.