The Info List - Ernst Lubitsch

Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch
(/ˈluːbɪtʃ/; January 29, 1892 – November 30, 1947) was a German American
German American
film director, producer, writer, and actor. His urbane comedies of manners gave him the reputation of being Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated director; as his prestige grew, his films were promoted as having "the Lubitsch touch". Among his most famous works are Trouble in Paradise, Ninotchka, The Shop Around the Corner and To Be or Not to Be. In 1946, he received an Honorary Academy Award for his distinguished contributions to the art of the motion picture.


1 Early life 2 Career

2.1 Early work, 1913–21 2.2 Hollywood
silent films, 1922–27 2.3 Sound films, 1928–40 2.4 Later films, 1941–47 2.5 Death

3 Lubitsch touch 4 Career assessment and legacy 5 Filmography 6 References

6.1 Citations 6.2 Sources

7 External links

Early life[edit] Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch
was born on January 29, 1892 in Berlin, Germany,[1] the son of Anna (née Lindenstaedt) and Simon Lubitsch (Russian: Любич), a tailor. His family was Ashkenazi Jewish, his father born in Grodno
in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
and his mother from Wriezen (Oder), outside Berlin. He turned his back on his father's tailoring business to enter the theater, and by 1911, he was a member of Max Reinhardt's Deutsches Theater. Career[edit] Early work, 1913–21[edit]

Lubitsch, c. 1920

In 1913, Lubitsch made his film debut as an actor in The Ideal Wife. He gradually abandoned acting to concentrate on directing. He appeared in approximately thirty films as an actor between 1912 and 1920. His last film appearance as an actor was in the 1920 drama Sumurun, opposite Pola Negri
Pola Negri
and Paul Wegener, which he also directed. In 1918, he made his mark as a serious director with Die Augen der Mumie Ma (The Eyes of the Mummy), starring Pola Negri. Lubitsch alternated between escapist comedies and large-scale historical dramas, enjoying great international success with both. His reputation as a grand master of world cinema reached a new peak after the release of his spectacles Madame Du Barry (retitled Passion, 1919) and Anna Boleyn (Deception, 1920). Both of these films found American distributorship by early 1921. They, along with Lubitsch's Carmen (released as Gypsy Blood in the U.S. in 1921) were selected by The New York Times on its list of the 15 most important movies of 1921. With glowing reviews under his belt, and American money flowing his way, Lubitsch formed his own production company and set to work on the high-budget spectacular The Loves of Pharaoh
The Loves of Pharaoh
(1921). Lubitsch sailed to the United States for the first time in December 1921 for what was intended as a lengthy publicity and professional factfinding tour, scheduled to culminate in the February premiere of Pharaoh. However, with World War I
World War I
still fresh, and with a slew of German "New Wave" releases encroaching on American movie workers' livelihoods, Lubitsch was not gladly received. He cut his trip short after little more than three weeks and returned to Germany. But he had already seen enough of the American film industry to know that its resources far outstripped the spartan German companies. Hollywood
silent films, 1922–27[edit] Lubitsch finally left Germany for Hollywood
in 1922, contracted as a director by Mary Pickford. He directed Pickford in the film Rosita; the result was a critical and commercial success, but director and star clashed during its filming, and it ended up as the only project that they made together. A free agent after just one American film, Lubitsch was signed to a remarkable three-year, six-picture contract by Warner Brothers
Warner Brothers
that guaranteed the director his choice of both cast and crew, and full editing control over the final cut. Settling in America, Lubitsch established his reputation for sophisticated comedy with such stylish films as The Marriage Circle (1924), Lady Windermere's Fan
Lady Windermere's Fan
(1925), and So This Is Paris
So This Is Paris
(1926). But his films were only marginally profitable for Warner Brothers, and Lubitsch's contract was eventually dissolved by mutual consent, with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
and Paramount buying out the remainder. His first film for MGM, The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg
The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg
(1927), was well regarded, but lost money. The Patriot (1928), produced by Paramount, earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Directing. Sound films, 1928–40[edit]

Lubitsch and his wife, Helene Kraus

Lubitsch seized upon the advent of talkies to direct musicals. With his first sound film, The Love Parade
The Love Parade
(1929), starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, Lubitsch hit his stride as a maker of worldly musical comedies (and earned himself another Oscar nomination). The Love Parade
The Love Parade
(1929), Monte Carlo (1930), and The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) were hailed by critics as masterpieces of the newly emerging musical genre. Lubitsch served on the faculty of the University of Southern California
University of Southern California
for a time. His next film was a romantic comedy, written with Samson Raphaelson, Trouble in Paradise (1932). Later described (approvingly) as "truly amoral" by critic David Thomson, the cynical comedy was popular both with critics and with audiences. But it was a project that could only have been made before the enforcement of the Production Code, and after 1935, Trouble in Paradise was withdrawn from circulation. It was not seen again until 1968. The film was never available on videocassette and only became available on DVD in 2003. Writing about Lubitsch's work, critic Michael Wilmington observed:

At once elegant and ribald, sophisticated and earthy, urbane and bemused, frivolous yet profound. They were directed by a man who was amused by sex rather than frightened of it – and who taught a whole culture to be amused by it as well.

Lubitsch in The Merry Widow, 1934

Whether with music, as in MGM's opulent The Merry Widow
The Merry Widow
(1934) and Paramount's One Hour with You
One Hour with You
(1932), or without, as in Design for Living (1933), Lubitsch continued to specialize in comedy. He made only one other dramatic film, the antiwar Broken Lullaby
Broken Lullaby
(also known as The Man I Killed, 1932). In 1935, he was appointed Paramount's production manager,[2] thus becoming the only major Hollywood
director to run a large studio. Lubitsch subsequently produced his own films and supervised the production of films of other directors. But Lubitsch had trouble delegating authority, which was a problem when he was overseeing sixty different films. He was fired after a year on the job, and returned to full-time moviemaking. In 1936, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. On July 27, 1935 he had married British actress Vivian Gaye. They had one daughter, Nicola Lubitsch, on October 27, 1938. When war was declared in Europe, Vivian Lubitsch and her daughter were staying in London. Vivian sent her baby daughter, accompanied by her nursemaid, Consuela Strohmeier, to Montreal
aboard the Donaldson Atlantic Line's SS Athenia, which was sunk by a German submarine on September 3, 1939 with a loss of 118 passengers. The child and the nurse survived. In 1939, Lubitsch moved to MGM, and directed Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo
in Ninotchka. Garbo and Lubitsch were friendly and had hoped to work together on a movie for years, but this would be their only project. The film, co-written by Billy Wilder, is a satirical comedy in which the famously serious actress' laughing scene was heavily promoted by studio publicists with the tagline "Garbo Laughs!" In 1940, he directed The Shop Around the Corner, an artful comedy of cross purposes. The film reunited Lubitsch with his Merry Widow screenwriter Raphaelson, and starred James Stewart
James Stewart
and Margaret Sullavan as a pair of bickering co-workers in Budapest, each unaware that the other is their secret romantic correspondent. David Thomson wrote of it:

The Shop Around the Corner... is among the greatest of films... This is a love story about a couple too much in love with love to fall tidily into each other's arms. Though it all works out finally, a mystery is left, plus the fear of how easily good people can miss their chances. Beautifully written (by Lubitsch's favorite writer, Samson Raphaelson), Shop Around the Corner is a treasury of hopes and anxieties based in the desperate faces of Stewart and Sullavan. It is a comedy so good it frightens us for them. The café conversation may be the best meeting in American film. The shot of Sullavan's gloved hand, and then her ruined face, searching an empty mail box for a letter is one of the most fragile moments in film. For an instant, the ravishing Sullavan looks old and ill, touched by loss.

Later films, 1941–47[edit] Lubitsch next directed That Uncertain Feeling (1941), a remake of his 1925 film Kiss Me Again. Produced independently by Lubitsch together with Sol Lesser, it was not a commercial success. Lubitsch followed it with a film that has become one of his best regarded comedies, To Be or Not to Be, a witty, dark and insightful film about a troupe of actors in Nazi-occupied Poland. He spent the balance of his career at 20th Century Fox, but a heart condition curtailed his activity, and he spent much of his time in supervisory capacities. It has been claimed that the last picture made by the director with his distinctive "touch" was Heaven Can Wait (1943), another Raphaelson collaboration. The film is about Henry Van Cleve (played by Don Ameche), who presents himself at the gates of Hell
to recount his life and the women he has known from his mother onwards, concentrating on his happy but sometimes difficult 25 years of marriage to Martha (Gene Tierney). After Heaven Can Wait, Lubitsch worked with Edwin Justus Mayer on the scripting process of A Royal Scandal (1945), a remake of Ernst Lubitsch's silent film, Forbidden Paradise. Mayer wrote the screenplay for A Royal Scandal, and had worked with Lubitsch on To Be or Not to Be (1942). The script of A Royal Scandal (1945) was written and prepared under Ernst Lubitsch, and he was the original director of this film, and directed the rehearsals. He became ill during shooting, so Lubitsch hired Otto Preminger
Otto Preminger
to do the rest of the shooting. But A Royal Scandal is considered "a Lubitsch picture". After A Royal Scandal, Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch
regained his health, and directed Cluny Brown (1946), with Charles Boyer
Charles Boyer
and Jennifer Jones. In March 1947, Lubitsch was awarded a Special
Academy Award for his "25-year contribution to motion pictures". Presenter Mervyn LeRoy, calling Lubitsch "a master of innuendo", described some of his attributes as a filmmaking: "He had an adult mind and a hatred of saying things the obvious way." Lubitsch was the subject of several interviews at that time, and consistently cited The Shop Around the Corner as his favorite of his films. Considering his overall career, he mused, "I made sometimes pictures which were not up to my standard, but then it can only be said about a mediocrity that all his works live up to his standard." Death[edit] Lubitsch died of a heart attack on November 30, 1947 in Hollywood.[3] His last film, That Lady in Ermine
That Lady in Ermine
with Betty Grable, was completed by Otto Preminger
Otto Preminger
and released posthumously in 1948. Leaving Lubitsch's funeral, Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
ruefully said, "No more Lubitsch." William Wyler
William Wyler
responded, "Worse than that. No more Lubitsch pictures." Wilder had a sign over his office door, which read "How would Lubitsch do it?" Lubitsch is interred at Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park. On February 8, 1960, Lubitsch received a star on the Hollywood
Walk of Fame for his contributions to the motion pictures industry, at 7040 Hollywood
Blvd., Hollywood.[4][5][6] Lubitsch touch[edit] Biographer Scott Eyman attempted to characterize the famed "Lubitsch touch":

With few exceptions Lubitsch's movies take place neither in Europe nor America but in Lubitschland, a place of metaphor, benign grace, rueful wisdom... What came to preoccupy this anomalous artist was the comedy of manners and the society in which it transpired, a world of delicate sangfroid, where a breach of sexual or social propriety and the appropriate response are ritualized, but in unexpected ways, where the basest things are discussed in elegant whispers; of the rapier, never the broadsword... To the unsophisticated eye, Lubitsch's work can appear dated, simply because his characters belong to a world of formal sexual protocol. But his approach to film, to comedy, and to life was not so much ahead of its time as it was singular, and totally out of any time.

Career assessment and legacy[edit] In 1946, he received an Honorary Academy Award for his distinguished contributions to the art of the motion picture. He was also nominated three times for Best Director.[7] Filmography[edit] Main article: Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch
filmography References[edit] Citations[edit]

^ Eyman 1993, p. 22. ^ Weinberg 1968, p. 348. ^ Eyman 1993, p. 358. ^ Katz, Ephraim (2001). The Film Encyclopedia (4th ed.). Toledo, Ohio: Collins. ISBN 978-0-062-73755-7.  ^ " Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch
Walk of Fame". www.walkoffame.com. Retrieved 2016-06-19.  ^ "Ernst Lubitsch". latimes.com. Retrieved 2016-06-19.  ^ "The Official Academy Awards
Academy Awards
Database". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved January 2, 2015. 


Eyman, Scott (1993). Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-74936-1.  Weinberg, Herman G. (1968). The Lubitsch Touch: A Critical Study. New York: Dutton. ISBN 978-0-486-23483-0. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ernst Lubitsch.

Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch
on IMDb Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch
at Find a Grave The Cinema of Ernst Lubitsch Virtual History

v t e

Films directed by Ernst Lubitsch

Feature films

Shoe Palace Pinkus
Shoe Palace Pinkus
(1916) When Four Do the Same (1917) Die Augen der Mumie Ma (1918) Carmen (1918) Intoxication (1919) The Doll (1919) My Wife, the Movie Star
My Wife, the Movie Star
(1919) The Oyster Princess
The Oyster Princess
(1919) Meyer from Berlin
(1919) Madame DuBarry (1919) Sumurun
(1920) Kohlhiesel's Daughters (1920) Anna Boleyn (1920) The Wild Cat (1921) The Loves of Pharaoh
The Loves of Pharaoh
(1922) The Flame (1923) Rosita (1923) The Marriage Circle
The Marriage Circle
(1924) Three Women (1924) Forbidden Paradise
Forbidden Paradise
(1924) Kiss Me Again (1925) Lady Windermere's Fan
Lady Windermere's Fan
(1925) So This Is Paris
So This Is Paris
(1926) The Honeymoon Express (1926) The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg
The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg
(1927) The Patriot (1928) Eternal Love (1929) The Love Parade
The Love Parade
(1929) Monte Carlo (1930) Paramount on Parade
Paramount on Parade
(co-director) (1930) The Smiling Lieutenant
The Smiling Lieutenant
(1931) Broken Lullaby
Broken Lullaby
(1932) One Hour with You
One Hour with You
(1932) Trouble in Paradise (1932) Design for Living (1933) The Merry Widow
The Merry Widow
(1934) Angel (1937) Bluebeard's Eighth Wife
Bluebeard's Eighth Wife
(1938) Ninotchka
(1939) The Shop Around the Corner
The Shop Around the Corner
(1940) That Uncertain Feeling (1941) To Be or Not to Be (1942) Heaven Can Wait (1943) A Royal Scandal (1945) Cluny Brown
Cluny Brown
(1946) That Lady in Ermine
That Lady in Ermine

Short films

I Don't Want to Be a Man Kohlhiesels Töchter If I Had a Million
If I Had a Million
(segment "The Clerk")

v t e

Academy Honorary Award


Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
/ Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
(1928) Walt Disney
Walt Disney
(1932) Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple
(1934) D. W. Griffith
D. W. Griffith
(1935) The March of Time
The March of Time
/ W. Howard Greene and Harold Rosson (1936) Edgar Bergen
Edgar Bergen
/ W. Howard Greene / Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
Film Library / Mack Sennett
Mack Sennett
(1937) J. Arthur Ball / Walt Disney
Walt Disney
/ Deanna Durbin
Deanna Durbin
and Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney
/ Gordon Jennings, Jan Domela, Devereaux Jennings, Irmin Roberts, Art Smith, Farciot Edouart, Loyal Griggs, Loren L. Ryder, Harry D. Mills, Louis Mesenkop, Walter Oberst / Oliver T. Marsh and Allen Davey / Harry Warner
Harry Warner
(1938) Douglas Fairbanks
Douglas Fairbanks
/ Judy Garland
Judy Garland
/ William Cameron Menzies / Motion Picture Relief Fund (Jean Hersholt, Ralph Morgan, Ralph Block, Conrad Nagel)/ Technicolor Company (1939) Bob Hope
Bob Hope
/ Nathan Levinson (1940) Walt Disney, William Garity, John N. A. Hawkins, and the RCA Manufacturing Company / Leopold Stokowski
Leopold Stokowski
and his associates / Rey Scott / British Ministry of Information (1941) Charles Boyer
Charles Boyer
/ Noël Coward
Noël Coward
/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
(1942) George Pal
George Pal
(1943) Bob Hope
Bob Hope
/ Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien
(1944) Republic Studio, Daniel J. Bloomberg, and the Republic Studio Sound Department / Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger
/ The House I Live In / Peggy Ann Garner (1945) Harold Russell
Harold Russell
/ Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
/ Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch
/ Claude Jarman Jr. (1946) James Baskett
James Baskett
/ Thomas Armat, William Nicholas Selig, Albert E. Smith, and George Kirke Spoor
George Kirke Spoor
/ Bill and Coo / Shoeshine (1947) Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger
/ Monsieur Vincent
Monsieur Vincent
/ Sid Grauman
Sid Grauman
/ Adolph Zukor
Adolph Zukor
(1948) Jean Hersholt
Jean Hersholt
/ Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire
/ Cecil B. DeMille
Cecil B. DeMille
/ The Bicycle Thief (1949) Louis B. Mayer
Louis B. Mayer
/ George Murphy
George Murphy
/ The Walls of Malapaga (1950)


Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly
/ Rashomon
(1951) Merian C. Cooper
Merian C. Cooper
/ Bob Hope
Bob Hope
/ Harold Lloyd
Harold Lloyd
/ George Mitchell / Joseph M. Schenck / Forbidden Games
Forbidden Games
(1952) 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation / Bell & Howell Company / Joseph Breen / Pete Smith (1953) Bausch & Lomb Optical Company / Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye
/ Kemp Niver / Greta Garbo / Jon Whiteley
Jon Whiteley
/ Vincent Winter / Gate of Hell
(1954) Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (1955) Eddie Cantor
Eddie Cantor
(1956) Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
/ Gilbert M. "Broncho Billy" Anderson / Charles Brackett / B. B. Kahane (1957) Maurice Chevalier
Maurice Chevalier
(1958) Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton
/ Lee de Forest
Lee de Forest
(1959) Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper
/ Stan Laurel
Stan Laurel
/ Hayley Mills
Hayley Mills
(1960) William L. Hendricks / Fred L. Metzler / Jerome Robbins
Jerome Robbins
(1961) William J. Tuttle
William J. Tuttle
(1964) Bob Hope
Bob Hope
(1965) Yakima Canutt
Yakima Canutt
/ Y. Frank Freeman
Y. Frank Freeman
(1966) Arthur Freed (1967) John Chambers / Onna White (1968) Cary Grant
Cary Grant
(1969) Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish
/ Orson Welles
Orson Welles
(1970) Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
(1971) Charles S. Boren / Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson
(1972) Henri Langlois
Henri Langlois
/ Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx
(1973) Howard Hawks
Howard Hawks
/ Jean Renoir
Jean Renoir
(1974) Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford


Margaret Booth (1977) Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
/ Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
/ King Vidor
King Vidor
/ Museum of Modern Art Department of Film (1978) Hal Elias / Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
(1979) Henry Fonda
Henry Fonda
(1980) Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck
(1981) Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney
(1982) Hal Roach
Hal Roach
(1983) James Stewart
James Stewart
/ National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
(1984) Paul Newman
Paul Newman
/ Alex North (1985) Ralph Bellamy
Ralph Bellamy
(1986) Eastman Kodak
Company / National Film Board of Canada
National Film Board of Canada
(1988) Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa
(1989) Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren
/ Myrna Loy
Myrna Loy
(1990) Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray
(1991) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1992) Deborah Kerr
Deborah Kerr
(1993) Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
(1994) Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas
/ Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones
(1995) Michael Kidd
Michael Kidd
(1996) Stanley Donen
Stanley Donen
(1997) Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan
(1998) Andrzej Wajda
Andrzej Wajda
(1999) Jack Cardiff
Jack Cardiff
/ Ernest Lehman (2000)


Sidney Poitier
Sidney Poitier
/ Robert Redford
Robert Redford
(2001) Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
(2002) Blake Edwards
Blake Edwards
(2003) Sidney Lumet
Sidney Lumet
(2004) Robert Altman
Robert Altman
(2005) Ennio Morricone
Ennio Morricone
(2006) Robert F. Boyle (2007) Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall
/ Roger Corman
Roger Corman
/ Gordon Willis
Gordon Willis
(2009) Kevin Brownlow / Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Luc Godard
/ Eli Wallach
Eli Wallach
(2010) James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones
/ Dick Smith (2011) D. A. Pennebaker
D. A. Pennebaker
/ Hal Needham
Hal Needham
/ George Stevens Jr.
George Stevens Jr.
(2012) Angela Lansbury
Angela Lansbury
/ Steve Martin
Steve Martin
/ Piero Tosi (2013) Jean-Claude Carrière
Jean-Claude Carrière
/ Hayao Miyazaki
Hayao Miyazaki
/ Maureen O'Hara
Maureen O'Hara
(2014) Spike Lee
Spike Lee
/ Gena Rowlands
Gena Rowlands
(2015) Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan
/ Lynn Stalmaster / Anne V. Coates / Frederick Wiseman (2016) Charles Burnett / Owen Roizman / Donald Sutherland
Donald Sutherland
/ Agnès Varda (2017)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 56627503 LCCN: n50043553 ISNI: 0000 0001 2134 0870 GND: 118729306 SELIBR: 238797 SUDOC: 028640241 BNF: cb12043438s (data) ULAN: 500336318 NDL: 001203815 BNE: XX1008091 RKD: 306782 SN