When the Nazis invade Poland, a group of Polish actors with a lot of Nazi uniforms on their hands find a new role to play. As a spy arrives in Warsaw to give the Nazis his latest information, the actors, led by Joseph Tura and his wife Maria, lead the Nazis a merry dance with various charades, rescues and escapes. –BFI
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
What's amazing is how long one is suspended in queasy uneasy hilarity. The jokes about "Poles camping" immediately after showing the destruction of Warsaw. The movie is a triumph of "bad taste" over middlebrow sentimentality, although according to Harvey what upset the audiences were not the Nazi jokes but the jokes by the Nazis. Lubitsch makes as good a case as any for the nobility of the absurd human condition.
Cheeky, snappy – it’s got the trademark, bumbling lightness of Lubitsch’s comedy. Yet excessive froth is the least of its concerns, with the film suffering initially from rather confusing, jarring… read review