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Ernst Lubitsch DIRECTOR
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ERNST LUBITSCH BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
 
Ernst Lubitsch was one of Hollywood’s most sophisticated directors, with movies that boasted wit and a hint of elegant sexuality. His style was so unique and graceful, that the only phrase that could describe it was the “Lubitsch Touch”. He set the precedent for all romantic comedies that ensued, bringing lightness to the pictures, as well as revolutionizing the movie musical. For his many great efforts, he was a recipient of an Honorary Academy Award as well as a nominee for three Oscars.

Lubitsch was born to a Jewish family in Berlin, Germany, on January 28, 1892. During high school, he was drawn to the stage. At age sixteen, despite his father’s wishes for him to continue with the family’s clothing manufacturing business, he left to join the theater. By 1911, Lubitsch was a part of Max Reinhardt’s Deutsches Theater. He quickly rose up from playing small parts to stealing leads. Next, he transferred his skills to the silver screen. His debut acting role was in Berlin’s Bioscope film studio’s “Das Mirakel” (1912). He continued to appear in the studio’s silent one reel comedies, eventually becoming known as the comedic screen persona “Meyer”, a hilarious Jew. His directorial debut came with 1914’s “Fräulein Seifenschaum”. Gradually, Lubitsch discontinued his acting and stuck primarily with directing, although he had stints as writer and producer on some of his pictures.

In 1918 the director began to show his seriousness for the art with the horrific drama “Eyes of the Mummy Ma”. Soon after, he turned out numerous pictures, mainly large scale historical dramas and escapists comedies. He found international success with films such as “Carmen” (1918), “Madame du Barry” (1919), and “Anna Boleyn” (1920). Upon direction of over forty German films, Lubitsch was hired by Adolph Zukor to direct the American romantic comedy “Rosita” (1923), starring Mary Pickford. The director chose to stay in Hollywood with Warner Brothers after its success, marking the start of his reign as a great Hollywood director, as well as the beginning of the coining the “Lubitsch Touch”. This “touch” was a combination of understated sensuality, sarcastic humor, and sophistication.

He first demonstrated his 'touch' with movies like “The Marriage Circle” (1924), “Forbidden Paradise” (1924), “Kiss Me Again” (1925), “Lady Windermere’s Fan” (1925), “So This is Paris” (1926), and “The Student Prince in Old Heidelburg” (1927). Although this series of achievement featured pictures from the silent era, his hugely triumphal chain could not be broken even with the transition to sound. In 1928, upon the introduction of sound to Hollywood, Lubitsch moved to Paramount Pictures.

His first talkie, “The Love Parade” (1929), starred the famous Hollywood pairing Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, and showed his true talent for creating delightful musical comedies. He additionally made them more refined, as he was the inaugurator of introducing song into the plot in a flowing fashion. Lubitsch continued this refinery with other operettas like “Monte Carlo” (1930) and “The Smiling Lieutenant” (1931). All three were hailed as critical masterpieces. He next surprised audiences everywhere by releasing his only dramatic film of the period, “Broken Lullaby” (1932). However, he quickly returned back to his favorite kind of picture: the urbane comedy. “One Hour with You” (1932), “Trouble in Paradise” (1932), “Design for Living” (1933), and “The Merry Widow” (1934) all showed his genteel wit.

In 1935, Paramount made Lubitsch their production chief, turning him into the only major director in Hollywood that also ran a large studio. Unfortunately, he found it hard delegating as an authorial figure and was fired only a year later, allowing him to return full-time to movie making. The director made some features for MGM and 20th Century Fox, including successes such as the typical popular Lubitsch type “Ninotchka” (1939), “The Shop Around the Corner” (1940), “To Be or Not To Be” (1942) (which was redone in 1983 with Lubitsch’s original script), “Heaven Can Wait” (1943), “Cluny Brown” (1946), and his final, “That Lady in Ermine” (1948).

Lubitsch was unable to finish “That Lady in Ermine” (1948), as he suffered from his sixth heart attack on November 30, 1947, which ultimately ended up killing him. The movie was eventually finished by director Otto Preminger and released posthumously. During his funeral, Billy Wilder exclaimed “No more Lubitsch”, to which brought the response by William Wyler of “Worse than that – no more Lubitsch films.” For his contributions to the motion pictures, Lubitsch received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.   

Filmography 

1948       That Lady in Ermine 

1946       Cluny Brown

1946       Dragonwyck 

1945       A Royal Scandal 

1943       Heaven Can Wait

1942       To Be or Not to Be  

1941       That Uncertain Feeling 

1940       The Shop Around the Corner

1939       Ninotchka 

1938       Bluebeard's Eighth Wife 

1937       Angel 

1936       Desire

1935       La veuve joyeuse

1934       The Merry Widow 

1933       Design for Living 

1932       Trouble in Paradise

1932       One Hour with You 

1932       Broken Lullaby  

1932       If I Had a Million

1932       Une heure près de toi

1931       The Smiling Lieutenant

1930       Galas de la Paramount  

1930       Paramount on Parade 

1930       The Vagabond King 

1930       Monte Carlo

1929       The Love Parade

1929       Eternal Love  

1928       The Patriot 

1927       The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg 

1926       The Honeymoon Express 

1926       So This Is Paris  

1925       Lady Windermere's Fan 

1925       Kiss Me Again 

1924       Forbidden Paradise 

1924       The Marriage Circle  

1924       Three Women

1923       Rosita 

1923       Die Flamme 

1922       The Loves of Pharoah 

1921       Die Bergkatze

1920       Anna Boleyn  

1920       Romeo und Julia im Schnee 

1920       Kohlhiesels Töchter 

1920       Die Wohnungsnot

1920       Sumurun

1919       Rausch

1919       Madame DuBarry

1919       Das Schwabenmädel 

1919       The Doll  

1919       Käsekönig Holländer 

1919       Meyer aus Berlin 

1919       Der lustige Ehemann 

1919       My Lady Margarine   

1919       Meine Frau, die Filmschauspielerin

1918       Carmen

1918       Das Mädel vom Ballet

1918       Eyes of the Mummy Ma

1918       Fuhrmann Henschel  

1918       I Don't Want to Be a Man 

1918       Der Fall Rosentopf 

1918       Der Rodelkavalier

1918       Prinz Sami 

1917       The Merry Jail 

1917       When Four Do the Same

1917       Hans Trutz im Schlaraffenland 

1917       Der Blusenkönig 

1917       Ossis Tagebuch 

1917       Sein einziger Patient 

1916       Der G.m.b.H. Tenor

1916       Leutnant auf Befehl 

1916       Der gemischte Frauenchor 

1916       Der schwarze Moritz 

1916       Schuhpalast Pinkus 

1916       Doktor Satansohn 

1916       Als ich tot war 

1916       Das schönste Geschenk 

1916       Die neue Nase 

1915       Robert and Beltran 

1915       Fräulein Piccolo 

1915       Zucker und Zimmt 

1915       Blindekuh 

1915       Aufs Eis geführt 

1915       Arme Maria - Eine Warenhausgeschichte

1915       Der Kraftmeier 

1915       Der letzte Anzug 

1915       Ein verliebter Racker 

1915       Wie ich ermordet wurde 

1914       The Pride of the Firm 

1914       Bedingung - Kein Anhang! 

1914       The Perfect Thirty-Six 

1914       Fräulein Seifenschaum

1913       Die ideale Gattin 

1912       Das Mirakel  





Matinee Classics - The Shop Around the Corner starring Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut, Sara Haden, Felix Bressart, William Tracy, Inez Courtney, Charles Halton, Charles Smith, Sarah Edwards and Ewin Maxwell
Matinee Classics - That Uncertain Feeling starring Melvyn Douglas, Merle Oberon, Burgess Meredith, Alan Mowbray, Olive Blakeney, Harry Davenport, Sig Ruman, Eve Arden and Richard Carle


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