July 7, 2010 |
For some nine decades, scholars, critics and fans have described German émigré Ernst Lubitsch's skill as a comedic director with the phrase "the Lubitsch Touch." But what exactly is the "Touch"? "Everybody has been trying to define that for so many years," says Rick Jewell, professor at USC School of Cinematic Arts. "I would have to say it all distills down to wit. There was a very special wit in the Lubitsch films. It was a visual wit, but it was also a wit in terms of the performances, which he clearly shaped.
August 16, 2009 |
Quentin Tarantino has long considered the original "Inglorious Bastards" to be his "own private little movie." So when he bought the rights to Enzo Castellari's little-seen 1978 Italian World War II flick -- later retitled "G.I. Bro" to capitalize on football-star-turned-actor Fred Williamson's presence -- the assumption was that Tarantino aimed to create another cinematic collage, similar to what he did with his two "Kill Bill" movies, martial-arts mash-ups that wore their references on their kimono sleeves.
February 10, 2008 |
Directors like Rob Marshall, Bill Condon, Adam Shankman and Tim Burton might be the latest filmmakers to craft engaging cinematic musicals, but, back when sound was new to the art form, it was German emigre director Ernst Lubitsch whose breezy, clever style and sophisticated story lines redefined the genre. After making a name for himself in silent cinema in Europe and Hollywood, Lubitsch brought his unique vision to the musical.
April 15, 2001 |
"Ah, Monsieur Rabelais," one of a group of deeply amused 16th century Frenchmen says to the smiling man at the head of their table in a vintage New Yorker cartoon. "There is simply no word to describe your earthy, ribald sense of humor." And so it is with Ernst Lubitsch, a pillar of Hollywood's golden age.
November 8, 1998 |
Sisters Nora and Delia Ephron are sitting in Nora's kitchen discussing their latest collaboration, "You've Got Mail." On the table is cold ham and strawberries, which they produced with practiced teamwork. Outside is the familiar sound of jackhammering. The atmosphere is maternal and professional, and the movie they made, which opens Dec. 18, reflects who they are: Nora is smart, acerbic, unabashedly romantic; Delia has the same qualities, but in different proportions.
October 1, 1997 |
For years, Ernst Lubitsch admirers have bemoaned the lack of home video availability of those essential films from the director's prodigious Paramount period (1928-1938), especially the revered "Trouble in Paradise." But alas, the Lubitsch legion is far too small to matter commercially ("Angel" and "Bluebeard's Eighth Wife" are available solely because of the marketability of Marlene Dietrich and Claudette Colbert).
November 28, 1993 |
It is unlikely that the Hollywood of 1993 would have much use for Ernst Lubitsch, or he for it. The undisputed master of the sophisticated sex comedy ("Trouble in Paradise," "Ninotchka" and "Design for Living" are among the director's best-loved films of the 1930s), Lubitsch was also the inventor of a unique film language, based on suggestion, inference, metaphor and ellipsis. In a medium invented to show everything, he showed nothing and yet he revealed all.
May 29, 1992 |
The American moviegoing public has the mind of a 12-year-old child; it must have life as it isn't. That's the only handicap of the American screen; you have everything else. --Ernst Lubitsch Ernst Lubitsch--whose centenary is celebrated with a retrospective through June 13 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art--was the master of a kind of film barely made any more: witty, sparkling romance.
December 16, 1991
The sentiments expressed by screenwriters Nicholas Kazan, Robin Swicord and Michael Tolkin are not only valid but long overdue ("Scorsese, Lange's Script: Knock Writer of 'Cape Fear,' " Dec. 2). De Maupassant--himself no mean writer--must have had some presentiment of what the future film writer was in for when he created "Ball of Fat," for, like his good and giving heroine, we "Hollywood writers" are forever called on to save producers and directors. The studio heads, indie producers and (above all)
August 23, 1991 |
The movie musical, that naive, frivolous, sometimes surreal and often joyous American institution, took a big step in its evolution with "The Love Parade." Released in 1929, this Ernst Lubitsch-directed film (screening tonight as part of the Fullerton Museum Center's "Here Comes the Bride" series) was one of the earliest to take inspiration from Broadway and combine a steady stream of songs with a lighthearted story line. "The Love Parade" has the look of rough pioneering.