Archive for July 7th, 2011

by Allan Fish

(Germany 1919 60m) DVD1/2

Aka. Die Austernprinzessin

That doesn’t impress me at all

p  Ernst Lubitsch  d  Ernst Lubitsch  w  Ernst Lubitsch, Hanns Kraly  ph  Theodor Sparkuhl  art  Kurt Richter, Rochus Gliese

Ossi Oswalda (Ossi Quaker), Victor Janson (Mr Quaker, the Oyster King), Harry Liedtke (Prince Nucki), Max Kronert (Seligson, the matchmaker), Julius Falkenstein (Josef), Curt Bois (conductor),

Of all the great directors to come out of Germany in the 1920s and go to Hollywood, Ernst Lubitsch is the odd-one out.  All the others, though they made great films after they left Germany, never had careers that matched their German work, while Lubitsch more than surpassed it, to the extent that his formative German films are often ignored.  To ignore them, however, is as grave an error as dismissing Chaplin’s shorts as merely rehearsals for the features to come.  Lubitsch’s German career is, while still formative, joyous enough to bear closer analysis.  He made some historical dramas to rival anything done in Hollywood – Anna Boleyn with Henny Porten, which gave Emil Jannings a chance to play Henry VIII, and Madame Dubarry with Pola Negri – and yet it’s for his four to seven reel comedies that he made his name.  There were several particularly interesting efforts, not least The Wildcat and The Doll, but better still was The Oyster Princess(more…)

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