Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Doll /Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin |
Actors: Nicola Lubitsch, Tom Tykwer, Michael Hanisch, Hans Helmut Prinzler, Enno Patalas
Director: Robert Fischer
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
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Unique and outstanding early Ernst Lubitsch
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 12/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is another excellent addition to Kino Video's `Lubitsch in Berlin' series which showcases the director's early work in Germany before becoming a huge success in Hollywood, and as such, is probably a real eye-opener for many viewers only familiar with his later American work. "The Doll" is a prime example of Lubitsch's genius, and much like his other outstanding comedies of the late 1910s, shows a style and humour uniquely his own. Even if the comedy style doesn't really appeal, you can't help being impressed by the sophistication and intelligence of the entire production, especially for the year 1919. Like his other comedies "The Wildcat" and "The Oyster Princess", "The Doll" has bizarre sets and scenery, often like stage props or exaggerated Art Deco style, and it is obvious that these sets have been carefully planned and created to add to the overall funny and wacky effect. The acting is also exaggerated for comical effect but not overbearing, and like all of Lubitsch's films, strikes a perfect balance between story, visual effects of the sets, unexpected comical moments and thoroughly good entertainment.
Watching "The Doll" is made more enjoyable with a marvellously restored print with perfectly clear picture quality, as well as a lively piano accompaniment. Popular German actress Ossi Oswalda, who also starred in some other Lubitsch productions, plays both a real woman and her look-alike doll in this fairytale-like comedy, and when she is mistakenly sold to a man as the doll, more amusing situations arise. Ossi plays the part wonderfully, as she is in the other Lubitsch comedies, while other characters in "The Doll" also make an impression such as some monks in scenes which poke a little fun at monastery life, and personally I enjoyed the doll-maker's bold young apprentice who keeps getting slapped.
In order to fully understand the genius of Ernst Lubitsch, the new documentary "Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin" on this DVD sheds light particularly on his early German career which moulded him into the director he was later to become. Beginning as a stage actor, he moved into films doing mainly comedies and already developed his own style and humour by the time he directed "The Doll". In just under two hours, this documentary is full of commentary by family members, co-workers and film experts who paint the picture of Lubitsch's career from beginning to end, along with many interesting film footage from old and rare films. This documentary supports what is already apparent from viewing a cross-section of his early work, namely that Lubitsch had his own vision and idea for comical, entertaining films, and had the intelligence and skill to realize it, and by so doing set himself apart from his German contemporaries by being his own unique self. This DVD is a superb example of that uniqueness, as is the entire `Lubitsch in Berlin' series which is giving new life to once-forgotten silent films that deserve to be seen and appreciated once again.
Lubitsch In Berlin Complete (For Now).
Chip Kaufmann | Asheville, N.C. United States | 12/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kino International's release of THE DOLL and the documentary ERNST LUBITSCH IN BERLIN completes their boxset that features 5 DVDs and 7 films altogether. Having reviewed a number of the other releases, it's only fair that I give THE DOLL and the documentary their due. THE DOLL, released in 1919, reimagines the old storyline of a mechanical doll that comes to life by incorporating a number of comic possibilities that would appeal to a 20th century audience. One of these, a man being pursued by dozens of women for his money, would later be used by Buster Keaton in his 1925 SEVEN CHANCES (and later in THE BACHELOR from 1999). Another is the same man's fear of women so that he substitutes a lifesize doll instead which has similarities to the recent LARS AND THE REAL GIRL although in this case it's a woman pretending to be a doll. The film is highly stylized in a comically grotesque fashion as all the action supposedly takes place within a fairy tale world with sets, costumes and photography to match the setting. It features the great but forgotten German comedienne Ossi Oswalda who was so memorable in Lubitsch's THE OYSTER PRINCESS and I DON'T WANT TO BE A MAN. At 64 minutes the film races along never allowing itself to wear out it's welcome. Audiences of today should view it as they would Tim Burton's CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY minus the songs.
The German documentary ERNST LUBITSCH IN BERLIN from 2006 allows us to follow Lubitsch's development from leaving the family's fabric business to his career as an actor with Max Reinhardt and his meeting with producer Paul Davidson which would lead to his switch from actor to director. Lubitsh went from wild, satirical comedies (THE OYSTER PRINCESS, THE WILDCAT) to vast historical epics (ANNA BOELYN, SUMURUN) before Hollywood in the form of Mary Pickford came calling in 1922 and lured him away from Germany forever. Numerous film clips are used throughout along with remembrances from family members and colleagues as well as contemporary German film scholars for a fascinating look at the origins of one of the true cinematic originals. As Billy Wilder said at Lubitsch's funeral in 1947 "No more Lubitsch". "Worse", said fellow director William Wyler, "No more Lubitsch pictures"."