b. Jan. 29, 1892, Berlin. d. Nov. 30, 1947, Hollywood. The son of a prosperous tailor, he was drawn to the stage while participating in plays staged by his high school, which he quit at 16. To satisfy both his own urge to act and his father’s desire that he take over the family business, he began leading a double life, working as a bookkeeper at his father’s store by day and appearing in cabarets and music halls by night.
In 1911 he joined Max Reinhardt’s famous Deutsches Theater, where he rapidly advanced from bit parts to character leads. To supplement his income, he took a job in 1912 as an apprentice and general-purpose handyman at Berlin’s Bioscope film studios. The following year he began appearing in a series of film comedies, emphasizing ethnic Jewish humor, in which he played a character named Meyer. He became very successful as a comedian and soon began writing and directing his own films. Gradually, Lubitsch abandoned acting to concentrate on directing… read more
To describe romance in film before Lubitsch, one might as well describe Ellis Island without mentioning the Statue of Liberty. Not because he was the purest romanticist. But because he defined all the grey that makes up the singular act of emotion towards the opposite sex (conceivably the same sex, too). Chevalier in the close of Love Parade is as cruel as any person ever put on screen. Lubitsch knows; the only emotions left when one's love is drying up are dark and terrible. To be able to show them with such subtlety that they're almost completely ignored for 80 years (indeed, that they even get called light and effervescent, sparkling with chemistry)... The tell-tale sign of art's greatest masters.
After all these years, the roots of the Hollywood musical and modern romantic comedy remain far greater than anything produced within those genres since. Sexy, urbane, and perfectly charming, Eclipse Series 8: Lubitsch Musicals sparkles with a delicate alchemy between unrivaled wit and sophisticated sexuality that puts today's "romcom" franchise to shame. If you love all things funny and romantic, these films are a must. Absolutely lovely.