Oops! I almost left out Ninotchka. Somehow, this 1939 masterpiece slipped through the cracks. I apologize for whatever inconvenience this violation of my self-imposed chronology may cause, although I don’t think the Prime Directive has been threatened. Read more
Posts tagged ‘Ernst Lubitsch’
Ernst Lubitsch (1892–1947) somehow remained true to his own idiosyncratic brand of filmmaking, even though he had what amounted to about a half-dozen separate (but overlapping) careers. Throughout his thirty-some years behind the camera, he developed an increasing sense of sophistication and an assurance that marked him as one of the great directors. Read more
Ernst Lubitsch (1892–1947) followed up The Marriage Circle (1924) with eight more silents (three of which are sadly lost). In 1929, that probably made him the odds-on favorite among all then-prominent directors to succeed as sound was coming in. With The Love Parade, Lubitsch did not disappoint. Read more
These notes accompany the program The Lubitsch Touch, which screens on February 3, 4, and 5 in Theater 3.
Ernst Lubitsch (1892–1947) was more responsible than anyone for bringing a continental flavor to the largely Anglo-Saxon American cinema. Although Erich von Stroheim preceded him, von Stroheim’s obsessions were too outré to be fully integrated into the American (Hollywood) sensibility. While Lubitsch remained fixated on European subjects and locales, his broadly humanistic humor did resonate with Americans in ways that von Stroheim’s esoteric naughtiness did not. Von Stroheim returned to Europe after World War II; Lubitsch died a Hollywood insider.
Lubitsch’s journey from Berlin took a few atypical turns. Starting in 1914 he directed himself in several crude comedies with an emphasis on a Jewish stereotype. Some of his more sophisticated satires (Die Austernprinzessin, Die Puppe, Romeo und Julia im Schnee) hold up well and reflect Lubitsch’s stage training with Max Reinhardt. He first gained notice in America with his ersatz D. W. Griffith spectacles (Madame DuBarry, Anna Boleyn), and Mary Pickford brought him to Hollywood to do the costume drama Rosita (1923), which she subsequently tried to destroy. Fortunately, Warner Brothers signed him to a contract, which resulted in a series of adult comedy/dramas, of which The Marriage Circle and So This Is Paris are representative. Read more