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 ...
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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
Have said more than once about appreciating highly silent film and totally understand their appeal and importance in film history. Not all of them are classics and some don't really hold up and serve more as curios, but there are many fabulous ones out there too. The best of the great Ernst Lubitsch's German period (am more familiar with his 30s output, 'Trouble in Paradise' and 'The Shop Around the Corner' being favourites) are up there with the classics and there are many interesting films from this period.
Of which 'The Doll' is one of the very best and most interesting films of his from this period. It is so wonderfully strange, hugely entertaining and has a real sense of wonder, more so than a lot of Lubitsch's German period films) and Lubitsch's unmistakable style was also starting to emerge here in 'The Doll'. The story is silly admittedly but that didn't matter to me, being so utterly transfixed by everything else going on that it was easy to forget. Have not always said that with other films, but it was dependent on how everything else was executed.
'The Doll' still looks remarkably great, to me one of the best looking films of the late-1910s. Like being in a real-life fairytale with plenty of magic, some of the visuals are suitably theatrical and elaborate but in a good way and never looking static or overblown. Also boasting one of the better prints for any recently seen silent film.
It's often very funny, at best hilarious, without being so over the top that it becomes too campy. Especially so once in the castle. 'The Doll' is also quite adorable without getting sugary and some of it is strange in an imaginative way. Never does it become childish or too scary, and it will appeal to children and adults alike. It never becomes over-serious, which adults will appreciate, and they are likely to appreciate it not getting over-silly. Children should find it easy to follow and be caught up in the enchantment, raising fond memories of the Christmas pantomimes. The story is silly but doesn't feel creaky, instead moving quite briskly.
Regarding the characters Ossi is especially cute and funny, and the actors clearly understand what the story's tone is and what their characters allow and play them perfectly. Paticularly Ossi Oswalda and Max Kronert. Lubitsch's direction is witty and sophisticated, which was what his distinctive style consisted of. Hence what was meant when said that his style was starting to emerge.
Concluding, wonderful and a Lubitsch and silent film must. 10/10
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