Design for Living, February 4
An unjustly neglected gem of Lubitsch's late career, made just after the war but set just before it, features Jennifer Jones as a maid with a passion for plumbing and intellectual émigré Charles Boyer as her ally in iconoclasm.
Recently deceased philanderer Don Ameche presents himself at the gates of hell, where he had so often been advised to go during his lifetime. “Full of grace, wisdom, and romance.”-Chicago Reader
“Lubitsch's first talkie and musical helped to define continental romance as well as opulent operetta for Depression-era audiences. Racy and innovatively shot, it pairs Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald for the first time, and it's one of their funniest films.”-Chicago Reader
The delirious “Beyond the Blue Horizon” sequence is reason enough to see this musical, featuring Jeanette MacDonald as a countess who flees to Monte Carlo to avoid marrying a foppish prince.
Bruce Loeb on Piano. Mary Pickford is a Spanish street singer who attracts the attention of a king in Lubitsch's first American feature.
Lubitsch's audacious adaptation of Noel Coward's play wickedly installs American expats Miriam Hopkins, Gary Cooper, and Fredric March in a Parisian garret, where they're hard pressed to keep their minds on their art.
“A musical remake of The Marriage Circle in which two sensual, worldly wise Parisians (Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald) subject a deliriously happy marriage to temptation. . . . A joyous, participatory experience inviting the viewer to serve as referee for a witty battle of the boudoir.”-Village Voice
Lubitsch's adaptation of the Lehar operetta, with lyrics by Lorenz Hart, opulent sets by Cedric Gibbons, and Chevalier and MacDonald in top form, is “the sexiest musical of the thirties-perhaps the sexiest musical ever.”-Film Comment
Judith Rosenberg on Piano. Ossi Oswalda, the “German Mary Pickford,” in a gender-bending silent comedy.
Please see January 14.
Judith Rosenberg on Piano. Adolphe Menjou, Marie Prevost, Monte Blue, and Florence Vidor square the circle in this key Lubitsch comedy of marital manners.
Bruce Loeb on Piano. The feline Pola Negri in Lubitsch's hilarious anti-militaristic satire.
Maurice Chevalier is caught in a tug-of-war between lovely Claudette Colbert and royal Miriam Hopkins. An Oscar-nominated hit, and “a work of nearly total assurance.”-James Harvey. With Lubitsch's segment from the omnibus If I Had a Million.
Donald Sosin on Piano. Lecture by Stefan Drössler. Archivist Drössler presents a reconstruction of Lubitsch's last German work, starring Pola Negri as a Montmartre cocotte, along with other rarities.
Donald Sosin on Piano. This German silent is "an ironic Portrait of a Lady [in which] crass and energetic American capitalism meets European tiredness and cunning."-Village Voice
Donald Sosin on Piano. A rare chance to see Lubitsch himself on screen: he plays a hunchbacked clown in love with sultry dancer Pola Negri in this exotic spectacular.
Jewel thieves Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins take millionaire Kay Francis for a ride, with romantic complications. “A nearly perfect film.”-New Yorker
Judith Rosenberg on Piano. Emil Jannings plays Louis XV with Pola Negri as his low-born mistress in a historical spectacular that established Lubitsch's international reputation, and upheld his view that history is made in the boudoir.
Marlene Dietrich and Melvyn Douglas in "the ritziest of all the Lubitsch comedies: the most discreet, the most soft-spoken, the one with the most impeccable manners."-James Harvey
This comedy develops from cynicism into about as warm a Cold War film as ever there was, as severe Soviet commissar Greta Garbo has her head turned by dashing capitalist Melvyn Douglas. The ads proclaimed, “Garbo laughs!” And so will you. Repeated on January 27.
Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart as sparring coworkers and unwitting pen pals. “The romance achieves such an exquisite balance of sympathy and humor that The Shop Around the Corner emerges as one of the most civilized creations of the cinema.”-Village Voice
Bruce Loeb on Piano. Lubitsch's adaptation of Oscar Wilde is "one of the most subtle films in the entire history of the cinema. Nothing, or practically nothing, is said; everything is inferred, suggested by little details, incisive, percussive, rich with an incessant corrosive humor."-Jean Mitry