Ernst Lubitsch

  • Ernst Lubitsch – Schuhpalast Pinkus AKA Pinkus’ Shoe Palace (1916)

    1911-1920ComedyErnst LubitschGermanySilent

    Sally Pinkus is an German-Jewish boy who takes a job as a shoe store clerk after being expelled from school for goofing around. Soon fired for trying to court the owner’s daughter, Pinkus lands another job in a more ‘upmarket’ shoe salon, only to be fired again, before charming a rich benefactress to fund his ultimate dream: Pinkus’ Shoe Palace.Read More »

  • Ernst Lubitsch – Madame DuBarry aka Passion (1919)

    1911-1920DramaErnst LubitschGermany

    In 1919, before Ernst Lubitsch was known for his famous “touch,” the master director made something like nine films–a perfect opportunity for an artist to really practice his craft. Even he had to start somewhere.

    Madame du Barry was retitled Passion to avoid the anti-German sentiment after World War I. Even though it was a French title and a French story, in Europe the movie was connected to the German director Ernst Lubitsch. Lubitsch’s name appeared nowhere in the American posters or movie titles so the movie wouldn’t bomb in America.Read More »

  • Ernst Lubitsch & George Cukor – One Hour with You (1932)

    1931-1940ComedyErnst LubitschGeorge CukorMusicalUSA

    But ohhhh! that Mitzi!

    A delightful comedy of manners from Ernst Lubitsch (with some assistance from George Cukor), rivaling Love Me Tonight as the best musical comedy and Trouble in Paradise as Lubitsch’s supreme achievement of that year. While most critics agree that it just misses reaching either one of those heights, it’s still one of the supreme treats of the Pre-Code era, best enjoyed a little over an hour before midnight together with (as per Leslie Halliwell’s suggestion) some Whitstable natives, salmon, trout and strawberries Romanoff, and an ice-cold bottle of either Moët et Chandon or Château d’Yquem on the side. And if you choose both of them…that’s what I do, too.Read More »

  • Sidney Lanfield – The Meanest Man in the World (1943)

    1941-1950ClassicsComedyErnst LubitschSidney LanfieldUSA

    Richard Clarke (Benny), a small town lawyer, is not making enough money to marry Janie Brown (Lane), his fiancée. To improve himself, Richard moves to New York City. Although he does not have any clients, Richard tells Janie that he is doing well. She expects to move to New York and marry him.

    His assistant Shufro (Anderson) suggests that he could make some money if he became hard and ruthless. The ultimate test of his meanness is ‘stealing candy from a baby’. He is photographed as he pulls a sucker away from a small boy. The picture is printed in the paper under the caption, “Meanest Man in the World.” He is hired to evict an old woman, Mrs. Frances H. Leggitt (Margaret Seddon), from her apartment and more pictures appear in the paper.Read More »

  • Ernst Lubitsch – Cluny Brown (1946)

    1941-1950ComedyErnst LubitschUSA

    The final film completed by Ernst Lubitsch, this zany, zippy comedy of manners, set in England on the cusp of World War II, is one of the worldly-wise director’s most effervescent creations. Jennifer Jones shines in a rare comedic turn as Cluny Brown, an irrepressible heroine with a zeal for plumbing. Sent to work as a parlormaid at a stuffy country manor, she proceeds to turn the household upside down—with plenty of help from Adam Belinski (Charles Boyer), an eccentric Continental exile who has fled the Nazis but is still worried about where his next meal is coming from. Sending up British class hierarchy with Lubitsch’s famously light touch, Cluny Brown is a topsy-turvy farce that says nuts to the squirrels and squirrels to the nuts.Read More »

  • Ernst Lubitsch – Die Puppe AKA The Doll (1919)

    ComedyErnst LubitschGermanySilentWeimar Republic cinema

    The Baron of Chanterelle (Max Kronert) demands that his nephew Lancelot (Hermann Thimig) get married to preserve the family line. A skittish and effeminate fellow, Lancelot does not wish to marry, so when his uncle presents him with 40 enthusiastic brides, he hides out with a group of monks. The gluttonous monks learn about Lancelot’s potential cash reward for his nuptials, so they cook up a plan: he can marry a doll…Read More »

  • Ernst Lubitsch – Ninotchka (1939)

    1931-1940ClassicsComedyErnst LubitschScrewball ComedyUSA

    Ninotchka is a stern, straightlaced Communist Party member sent to Paris to finish the sale of Grand Duchess Swana’s jewels for the Soviet government. But, while studying the frivolous materialism of Paris, Ninotchka meets Leon, Swana’s lawyer and sometime lover, and the two become enamored with one another — without knowing each other’s identity. The Grand Duchess, in the meantime, is suing the USSR for ownership of the jewels. What follows is a delicate web of intrigue and deception as Swana tries to blackmail Ninotchka into leaving Paris. Soon the two lovers have to overcome political hurdles and cross borders just to be together.Read More »

  • Ernst Lubitsch – Ich möchte kein Mann sein AKA I Don’t Want to Be a Man (1918)

    1911-1920ComedyErnst LubitschGermanySilent


    A teenaged tomboy, tired of being bossed around by her strict guardian, impersonates a man so she can have more fun, but discovers that being the opposite sex isn’t as easy as she had hoped.

    I Don’t Want To Be A Man is like The Oyster Princess an early example of Ernst Lubitsch’s comic skills, and it also shares The Oyster Princess’ star, the irrepressible comedienne Ossi Oswalda, who in both films lends her name to the characters she plays. Here she plays a wild, rambunctious late teen barely under the control of her guardian/uncle and governess. (In reality it takes a while to work out that this middle-aged couple glaring disapprovingly out the window at Ossi’s mild antics outside are not her parents; they seemed rather coded as such.)Read More »

  • Ernst Lubitsch – Broken Lullaby (1932)

    1931-1940DramaErnst LubitschUSA


    A young French soldier in World War I is overcome with guilt when he kills a German soldier who, like himself, is a musically gifted conscript, each having attended the same musical conservatory in France. The fact that the incident occurred in war does not assuage his guilt. He travels to Germany to meet the man’s family.Read More »

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