35mm, rewatched. Lubitsch at one of his various summits, supreme and sophisticated styling exercise of human comedy, curiously with several tangentials to Renoir's "La Règle du Jeu", that would be made 2 years later - "les beaux esprits toujours se rencontrent". A more laconic and romanticized variation than his previous ruthless ironies, with a hope that emerges as a sudden breakthrough inscribed in image: love.
The mazy baroque of an English mansion vs. the airiness of a Paris salon; cavernous insides vs. breezy violet-scented parks; the settled rituals of a long marriage vs. the discoveries of infant passion : within these poles, where geography is meaning and every element of découpage bears startling expressive power, this masterpiece of Lubitsch conducts its beautiful dance of finding a path to moral generosity.
A midpoint between Trouble in Paradise and To Be Or Not to Be, and not just chronologically. A love triangle forms and a monogamous bond is challenged/upheld in a Europe about to go to war, and the warmth and chemistry between the characters, including the minor ones, suggests that occupations and labels don't matter as much as wit or attraction. Fewer political conventions, more honeymoons. When do we want it? Now.
One of my favorite things about watching any Lubitsch film is how evident it is that he is in love with humanity. There is such a lovely light touch to conversation, to interaction, gestural nuances. He simply wants his characters to get along. Dietrich and Marshall's interactions as a married couple illustrate that while she may have fallen for someone else, it is not due to a lack of love.
I severely underestimated this the first time. Words dance as figures pose in stillness. The few moments where the figures, in an outline of ecstatic light, dance are monumental ballets of what is captured, yet hidden, in the smallest movements
I know this is considered a low energy Lubitsch but I got pleasure from it. Dietrich is, perhaps, not as animated as she was in the glittering, triumphant Borzage/Lubitsch "Desire" but she is still so attractive. Her two leading men are attuned to the Lubitsch rhythms. The big surprise is the stylish, subdued performance he gets from the notorious hamstress Laura Hope Crews (Aunt Pittypat).