San Sebastián: Ernst Lubitsch Retrospective

One of the highlights of this year's San Sebastian International Film Festival (website) is a mouth-wateringly thorough Ernst Lubitsch Retrospective.

Besides the obligatory titles, such as the witty 1939 comedy of bright lights and Communism, Ninotchka, and the delightful 1934 version of The Merry Widow, the retrospective is also showcasing a large number of Lubitsch rarities (including a few fragments of mostly lost films), ranging from his earliest work in Germany – among them several Pola Negri vehicles and the gender-bending 1918 comedy Ich möchte kein Mann sein / I Don't Want to Be a Man, starring the German Mary Pickford, Ossi Oswalda – to some of his little seen Hollywood films, such as the 1931 psychological drama Broken Lullaby / The Man I Killed, with Phillips Holmes and Nancy Carroll, and the 1930 Jeanette MacDonald-Jack Buchanan musical Monte Carlo.

Mary Pickford herself can be seen in Rosita a 1923 costume comedy that, despite claims to the contrary, was quite popular in its day. (Pickford hated working with Lubitsch, and never forgave him.)

Lubitsch reportedly also ran into problems with Nancy Carroll. In Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise, author Scott Eyman says that “part of the problem [with Lubitsch's 1931 melodrama The Man I Killed / Broken Lullaby] may have been an inability to establish a rapport with Nancy Carroll; Lubitsch told Miriam Hopkins that 'she doesn't understand what I want her to do … she doesn't want direction … I said to her … “If you would just put yourself in my arms” [hands]. And she said, “That I should do that with you, [a] German?”'”

Note: Eyman doesn't cite his source for the Ernst Lubitsch / Nancy Carroll quote. Miriam Hopkins died in 1972; Eyman's Lubitsch bio was written in the early 1990s. He doesn't mention Hopkins in the acknowledgments section, though he may have gotten the quote from some old Hopkins interview. Anyhow, I don't know whether or not that particular quote comes from a reliable source.

Having said that, Nancy Carroll was known to be very difficult. That's one of the reasons her Paramount stardom was so brief.

The retrospective is also screening a trailer of The Patriot, a 1928 silent drama starring Emil Jannings, Florence Vidor, and Lewis Stone. (The Patriot was considered completely lost until fairly recently. One reel or so was reportedly found in Portugal.)

The San Sebastian festival runs until Sept. 30.

List of Ernst Lubitsch films (including fragments and trailers) screened at San Sebastian:

Als ich tot war / Wo ist mein Schatz (1916) directed b y Ernst Lubitsch, starring Ernst Lubitsch, Louise Schenrich, Lanchen Voss, Julius Falkenstein
• Als ich tot war / Wo ist mein Schatz
Germany • 1916

Angel (1937) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, Melvyn Douglas, Edward Everett Horton
• Angel
USA • 1937

• Anna Boleyn starring Emil Jannings, Hedwig Pauli, Hilde Müller, Ludwig Hartau, Henny Porten
Germany • 1920

• Bluebeard's Eighth Wife starring Claudette Colbert, Gary Cooper, David Niven
USA • 1938

• Broken Lullaby / The Man I Killed starring Nancy Carroll, Phillips Holmes
USA • 1932

• Carmen starring Pola Negri
Germany • 1918

• Cluny Brown starring Jennifer Jones, Charles Boyer.
USA • 1946

• Das Weib des Pharao starring Emil Jannings
Germany • 1922

• Das fidele Gefängnis / Ein fideles Gefängnis
Germany • 1917

• Der Blusenkönig
Germany • 1917

• Design for Living starring Gary Cooper, Miriam Hopkins, Fredric March.
USA • 1933

• Desire
Frank Borzage, (Ernst Lubitsch producer) • USA • 1936

• Die Augen der Mumie Mâ
Germany • 1918

• Die Austernprinzessin
Germany • 1919

• Die Bergkatze starring Pola Negri
Germany • 1921

• Die Flamme starring Pola Negri, Hilde Wörner, Alfred Abel, Hermann Thimig, Frida Richard
USA • 1923

• Die Puppe starring Ossi Oswalda, Hermann Thimig, Victor Janson
Germany • 1919

• Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin
Robert Fischer • Germany • 2006

• Eternal Love starring John Barrymore, Camilla Horn, Victor Varconi
USA • 1929

Forbidden Paradise starring Pola Negri, Rod La Rocque, Pauline Starke
USA • 1924

Heaven Can Wait starring Don Ameche, Gene Tierney, Signe Hasso, Laird Cregar
USA • 1943

Ich möchte kein Mann sein starring Ossi Oswalda
Germany • 1918

If I had a Million (1932) directed by Ernst Lubitsch (The Clerk), Norman Taurog, Stephen Roberts, Norman McLeod, James Cruze, William A. Seiter, H. Bruce Humberstone, starring Charles Laughton, May Robson, Alison Skipworth, Gary Cooper, George Raft
• If I Had a Million
Ernst Lubitsch (The Clerk), Norman Taurog, Stephen Roberts, Norman McLeod, James Cruze, William A. Seiter, H. Bruce Humberstone • USA • 1932

Kohlhiesels Töchter /  Kohlhiesel's Daughters (1920) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Henny Porten, Emil Jannings, Gustav von Wangenheim, Jacob Tiedtke
• Kohlhiesels Töchter
Germany • 1920

Lady Windermere's Fan (1925) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring May McAvoy, Ronald Colman, Bert Lytell, Irene Rich
• Lady Windermere's Fan
USA • 1925

Madame Dubarry / Passion (1919) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Pola Negri, Emil Jannings, Reinhold Schünzel, Harry Liedtke
• Madame Dubarry
Germany • 1919

Meyer aus Berlin / Meyer from Berlin (1919) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Ernst Lubitsch, Ethel Orff, Heinz Landsmann, Trude Kroll
• Meyer aus Berlin
Germany • 1919

Monte Carlo (1930) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Jeanette MacDonald, Jack Buchanan
• Monte Carlo
USA • 1930

Ninotchka (1939) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire
• Ninotchka
USA • 1939

One Hour with You (1932) directed by George Cukor and Ernst Lubitsch, starring Jeanette MacDonald, Maurice Chevalier, Genevieve Tobin, Charles Ruggles, Roland Young
• One Hour with You
Ernst Lubitsch, George Cukor • USA • 1932

Paramount on Parade (1930) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, Dorothy Arzner, Otto Brower, Edmund Goulding, Victor Heerman, Edwin H. Knopf, Rowland V. Lee, Lothar Mendes, Victor Schertzinger, Edward Sutherland, Frank Tuttle, starring Maurice Chevalier, Evelyn Brent, Gary Cooper, Clara Bow, Ruth Chatterton, Fredric March, Jack Oakie, Richard Arlen, Nancy Carroll, Clive Brook, William Powell, Warner Oland
• Paramount on Parade
Ernst Lubitsch (Origin of the Apache, A Park in Paris, The Rainbow Revels), Dorothy Arzner, Otto Brower, Edmund Goulding, Victor Heerman, Edwin H. Knopf, Rowland V. Lee, Lothar Mendes, Victor Schertzinger, Edward Sutherland, Frank Tuttle • USA • 1930

Romeo und Julia im Schnee / Romeo and Juliet in the Snow (1920) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Jacob Tiedtke, Marga Köhler, Lotte Neumann
• Romeo und Julia im Schnee
Germany • 1920

Rosita (1923) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Mary Pickford, George Walsh, Irene Rich
• Rosita
USA • 1923

• Schuhpalast Pinkus starring Guido Herzfeld, Else Kenter, Ernst Lubitsch, Hanns Kräly, Ossi Oswalda
Germany • 1916

So This Is Paris (1926) directed by Ernst Lubitsch,
• So This Is Paris starring Patsy Ruth Miller, Monte Blue, André Beranger (aka George Beranger), Lilyan Tashman
USA • 1926

• Sumurun starring Pola Negri, Jenny Hasselquist, Aud Egede Nissen, Margarete Kupfer, Paul Wegener, Ernst Lubitsch
Germany • 1920

• That Uncertain Feeling starring Merle Oberon, Melvyn Douglas, Burgess Meredith
USA • 1941

The Love Parade starring Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Lillian Roth, Lupino Lane
USA • 1929

• The Marriage Circle
USA • 1924

The Merry Widow starring Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Una Merkel
USA • 1934

The Patriot (1928) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Emil Jannings, Florence Vidor, Lewis Stone
• The Patriot (trailer)
USA • 1928

The Shop Around the Corner (1940) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Margaret Sullvan, James Stewart
• The Shop Around the Corner
USA • 1940

The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins
• The Smiling Lieutenant
USA • 1931

The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg
USA • 1927

Three Women (1934) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Pauline Frederick, May McAvoy, Marie Prevost, Lew Cody, Willard Louis
• Three Women
USA • 1924

To Be or Not to Be (1`942) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Carole Lombard, Jack Benny
• To Be or Not To Be
USA • 1942

Trouble in Paradise (1932) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Herbert Marshall, Kay Francis, Miriam Hopkins
• Trouble in Paradise
USA • 1932

Wenn vier dasselbe tun / When We Do the Same Thing (1917) directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Emil Jannings, Ossi Oswalda, Margarete Kupfer, Fritz Schulz, Victor Janson
• Wenn vier dasselbe tun
Germany • 1917

San Sebastián: Ernst Lubitsch Retrospective © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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3 Comments to San Sebastián: Ernst Lubitsch Retrospective

  1. James

    It's a very thorough and exhaustive retrospective. That's why I was curious as to whether it was representative of all of Lubitsch's existing films.

  2. Andre

    But it's a pretty thorough retrospective, no?
    I believe that only a few of his earliest films are missing from the above line-up.

  3. James

    What a terrific lineup of films. I hope all who attended enjoyed the retrospective. Anyone reading this site who attended care to comment? I don't have a Lubitsch filmography in front of me, but is this all of Lubitsch's existing films that screened during this series?