The Lubitsch Touch

January 12 through February 16 at the PFA Theater

Director of some of the greatest comedies in Hollywood history, Ernst Lubitsch (1892-1947) was a master of elegant innuendo and sophisticated, cynical humor tempered with a sympathetic humanism. PFA presents, from Friday, January 12 through Friday, February 16, twenty-one archival rarities and fine studio prints-from early German silents to 1940s masterworks-that offer a chance to experience the ineffable visual wit known as "the Lubitsch touch."

On Sunday, January 21, Stefan Drössler, director of the Munich Filmmuseum and an expert on the history of German cinema as well as film restoration, will give an illustrated lecture focusing on Lubitsch's last two years in Germany and his subsequent move to Hollywood.

Films will be shown at the PFA Theater, 2575 Bancroft Way near Bowditch Street, on the southern edge of the UC Berkeley campus. General admission is $8, and tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance: from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except from December 24 through January 2) at the Berkeley Art Museum, by calling our charge-by-phone line (510.642.5249), or evenings at the PFA Theater beginning January 11.

Lubitsch was an actor in Europe with Max Reinhardt's theater company from 1911 to 1918. When he began directing films, he gained acclaim with extravagant historical pictures (such as Madame Dubarry, which made Pola Negri an international star) and delightful social comedies such as The Oyster Princess and the gender-bending I Don't Want to be a Man.

In 1922, actress and producer Mary Pickford brought him to the U.S., where he became famous for "continental" comedies and musicals, including Angel, starring Marlene Dietrich as the bored wife of a diplomat, Monte Carlo, and The Marriage Circle and its musical remake One Hour With You. Lubitsch's deft blend of worldliness and warmth can be seen in such films as the sparkling Trouble in Paradise, the beloved The Shop Around the Corner, Ninotchka, starring Greta Garbo, and Heaven Can Wait, his first color film.

A screening schedule with short descriptions follows. For more ticket or program information, please phone 510.642.1412, or visit .

Posted by admin on January 12, 2007