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Because the Baron of Chanterelle wants to preserve his family line, he forces his timid nephew Lancelot to choose one of the village maidens to wed. Lancelot flees to a monastery to escape the forty eager maidens. When the gluttonous monks discover that the Baron is offering a large sum for the marriage, they suggest Lancelot marry a mechanical doll instead. The doll maker has just finished making a replica of his daughter Ossi, but his assistant accidentally breaks it and convinces the real girl to mimic the doll. Lancelot buys her, thinking she is a doll, and takes her back to the monastery, where they are wed. Written by
People speak of the Lubitsch Touch first showing up in THE OYSTER PRINCESS, but that movie always struck me me as a a good romantic comedy, dimmed by changes in fashion, creaking a bit in age.
But this movie is the real thing: a silly story told with much flair and constant surprises. It begins with Lubitsch showing you a model of the set, like Penn and Teller showing you how they do the cup-and-ball trick, followed by a show that dazzles you: pantomime horses, venal monks and a little bit of E.T.A. Hoffman all fall under the thrall of Lubitsch and all of them, and the audience too, end up with smiles on their faces.
This movie is too good to more than hint at its wonders. If you have never seen a silent feature, see this one.
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