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 ... See full summary »
Balduin, a student of Prague, leaves his roystering companions in the beer garden, when he finds he has reached the end of his resources. He is scarcely seated in a quiet corner when a ... See full summary »
The favorite slave girl of a tyrannical sheik falls in love with a cloth merchant, which puts her life in terrible danger. Luckily, she is beloved of the rest of the harem, which conspires to bring the true lovers together, while distracting the prying eyes of the eunuchs who serve as palace guards. Meanwhile, a traveling dancer is eager to become part of the harem, much to the despair of the hunchback clown who is in love with her.Written by
Disappointing. The chief problem, as Lubitsch was quick to acknowledge, is Lubitsch. His exaggerated, hammy acting is one that Lubitsch the director would never have permitted any of his players. In fact, he was so unhappy with his over-the-top histrionics that he vowed never to act again.
Admittedly, there are a few other major faults. All the characters are one-dimensional and the story tends to drag, especially in the comedy relief sequences provided by camera-hoggers Kronert and Graetz, who are just awful. Margarete Kupfer's repulsive old hag is also over- indulged.
On the other hand, the film does provide an almost equal number of pleasures. not only in its exotic sets and cinematography, but in the alluring presence of Pola Negri, who receives excellent support from Paul Wegener who cleverly underplays his ruthless, self-indulgent sheik and thus makes him a really terrifying figure.
And for lessons in how to play comic relief with style, I nominate Jakob Tiedtke and Paul Biensfeldt, who both do amusing wonders with seemingly impossible characters. A slave trader, a comic figure? But that's how Biensfeldt plays this despicable little heap of slime-- and it works!
This film is now available on a somewhat odd Alpha Video DVD. Someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to replace the original (presumably German) inter-titles. These new English titles look very swanky indeed, but unfortunately they make the movie itself look just awful, thanks to its rather muddy and extremely well-worn print.
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