In Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin, the first-ever feature documentary on the inventor of the "Lubitsch Touch", Lubitsch's daughter Nicola guides us through her father's exciting time in Germany, ... See full summary »
In Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin, the first-ever feature documentary on the inventor of the "Lubitsch Touch", Lubitsch's daughter Nicola guides us through her father's exciting time in Germany, supported by an illustrious group of film historians, Lubitsch experts and some of today's most influential German film directors. Rare film clips, newly discovered photographs, newsreel footage and original audio recordings with actress Henny Porten, other first-hand witnesses and Lubitsch himself round off this comprehensive portrait of one of cinema's few true geniuses. Written by
I wanted to love this documentary. After all, the films that Ernst Lubitsch made in America in the 1930s and 40s were works of art--as well as great romantic fun. And, sadly, few think about his extensive acting and directing career BEFORE he came to Hollywood. So the notion that a film delves into his life and work in Berlin is something that excited me.
Sadly, however, this documentary turned out to be drier than dirt. In other words, they managed to make this exciting concept totally dull and a chore to watch. I think the biggest problem was the "we've got footage--let's use it" thinking of the film makers. In other words, there was a lot of footage of interviews with Lubitsch's elderly niece and daughter and the film makers let it be the bulk of the film. The problem was that this material wasn't that interesting in how it was presented. The use of this footage should have been used much more sparingly. Instead of almost exclusively using these interviews and some old photos, having a narrator or telling it like a traditional retrospective documentary would have worked better. I just felt, after a while, that listening to the people reminisce was like listening to one of my boring old aunts talk on and on and on about "the good 'ol days". This should have been better.
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