April 10th, 2019

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Learn about Lubitsch, via a Vulture

There they are, my favorite classic Hollywood actress and director, Carole Lombard and Ernst Lubitsch, in preparation for "To Be Or Not To Be" on the United Artists lot in 1941.

While many fans of the Golden Age are aware of Lubitsch and his "touch," there still are numerous movie buffs unfamiliar with this iconic individual...and the irony is that more than a few of them probably lionize one of his acolytes, Billy Wilder, who revered Lubitsch, wrote scripts for him and had this sign hanging in his office:

Last July, at about the same time UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater held a Lubitsch retrospective (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/918672.html), the entertainment site Vulture gave a primer on the master director. Somehow I missed it then but came across it recently.

If you're unfamiliar with his work, this piece helps explain what made him so great and so influential, more than seven decades after his passing. One can argue that Lubitsch is the father of romantic comedy, a genre that existed long before Nora Ephron arrived.

Several excerpts illustrate Lubitsch's style, including scenes from "Trouble In Paradise" (1932) and "Design For Living" (1933), both with Miriam Hopkins. She's also in "The Smiling Lieutenant" (1931), where this duet with Claudette Colbert may be unsubtle by Lubitsch standards but nevertheless is outrageous for the time:

Later Lubitsch samples come from "Ninotchka," "The Shop Around The Corner" (which Ephron adapted for her "You've Got Mail") and of course "To Be Or Not To Be."

Check out the primer at https://www.vulture.com/2018/07/a-primer-of-ernst-lubitschs-early-hollywood-comedies.html?fbclid=IwAR1lmkg4oD4uXwL1wSbXneGzDNh0y9u7t0J7cf5_8YvECUPl1PSoJka4Uh4#comments. Because Lubitsch should be part of any romantic comedy fan's diet...right, Greta?

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