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On Theatrical Culture, Oscar Wilde and Ernst Lubitsch‘s Lady Windermeres Fan
Charles Musser

The cinema is as much a theatrical form of entertainment as performance on the stage, a fact that is crucial to a full appreciation of Ernst Lubitsch‘s Lady Windermere‘s Fan (Warner Brothers, 1925). Particularly in the cinemas silent era (1895-1925), when motion picture exhibition relied on numerous performance elements, theatrical performance and film exhibition interpenetrated. This underscores a basic conundrum: cinema has been integral to, and an extension of, theatrical culture, even though it has also been something quite different - a new art form. Indeed, the unity of stage and screen was so well established that critics, theorists, historians and artists expended large amounts of intellectual energy distinguishing the two forms while paying little attention to what they held in common. One fundamental feature of theatrical practice that carried over into many areas of filmmaking was adaptation. For Lubitsch, adaptation was a central fact of his artistic practice. This article looks at the history of adaptations of Lady Windermere‘s Fan on stage and screen making reference to textual comparisons, public reception, painting, symbolism and queer readings.

Film Studies

Humour can be theorised as integral to the genre even if there are some films that do not provoke laughter. Romantic comedy has been described as a narrative of the heterosexual couple with a happy ending in which humour does not necessarily play an important part. The comic, protective, erotically-charged space is the space of romantic comedy. This book proposes a revised theory of romantic comedy and then tests its validity through the analysis of texts, but these films must not be expected to fully embody the theory. It proposes a change of approach in two different but closely linked directions. On the one hand, a comic perspective is a fundamental ingredient of what we understand by romantic comedy; on the other, the genre does not have a specific ideology but, more broadly, it deals with the themes of love and romance, intimacy and friendship, sexual choice and orientation. The book discusses two films directed by two of the most prestigious figures in the history of Hollywood comedy: Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder. Lubitsch's To Be or Not to Be became part of the canon as one of the most brilliant comedies in the history of Hollywood in so far as its romantic comedy elements remained invisible. Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid was almost universally rejected because its satire was too base, too obscene, too vulgar. Discussing Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window and Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors, the book attempts to move beyond the borders of comedy.

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Celestino Deleyto

Lombard in To BeorNottoBe (dir. Ernst Lubitsch, 1942, United Artists) This fear of female sexuality and of female sexual agency may be partly soothed by the fact that Maria is, like Carole Lombard, a star and, as such, larger than life, or else the anxious spectator can take shelter in the idea that comedy is not serious. Narrative development, however, should alert the

in The secret life of romantic comedy
Open Access (free)
Munich–Rome–Los Angeles, or ‘The last temptation of Ingmar Bergman’
Thomas Elsaesser

Cries and Whispers is ‘a film of which each and every frame could hang in an art gallery’. There was also a proposal to do a dubbed English version of Cries and Whispers which Bergman rejected. Somewhat ironically, but in actual fact quite a common occurrence, it was the fame of a female star—Liv Ullmann—that opened Hollywood doors to yet another European director. This had been the case with Ernst Lubitsch in 1921, whose path to Hollywood was smoothed by the box office promise which Hollywood saw in

in Ingmar Bergman
Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Asquith
Tom Ryall

months as a guest of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, spending time observing a number of film-makers at work including Charles Chaplin and Ernst Lubitsch. 35 He was also a founder member of the Film Society and therefore more closely involved than Hitchcock, and, like his contemporary, he had some limited experience of directing in Germany, in this case on his third film, The Runaway Princess (1928). His privileged background as the son of a prime minister differed significantly from Hitchcock’s, however, and in Rachael Low’s words he was one of ‘the new

in British art cinema
Deborah Shaw

’s El lugar sin límites (Place Without Limits, 1978) and Jaime Humberto Hermosillo’s Doña Herlinda y su hijo (Doña Herlinda and Her Son, 1985) and La tarea (Homework, 1991).6 So, what was it about this film that managed to bring the middle classes back to the cinema? According to the screenwriter (and brother of the director) Carlos Cuarón, until this film there had not been a Mexican take on the screwball comedy, a well established and popular US genre, which cine-literate Mexican viewers would be familiar with. Both Carlos and Alfonso cite Blake Edwards’s and Ernst

in The three amigos
Sarah Leahy
Isabelle Vanderschelden

Ernst Lubitsch, Billy Wilder, Woody Allen and, more recently, the Farrelly brothers and Judd Apatow. Comedy conventions promote narrative pace, effective timing and comic effects produced via dialogue. As a result, gags, plot and acting are often perceived to be more important than innovative mise en scene for generating comic effects, and this is discernible in the critical discourse around comedy

in Screenwriters in French cinema
R. S. White

films – yet the device has not produced films as celebrated as the few that show men disguising themselves as women. More familiar are the films such as those in the screwball genre that show women acting in stereotyped male roles rather than ‘dressing up’. In the early German silent film directed by Ernst Lubitsch, Ich möchte kein Mann sein ( I Don’t Want to Be a Man (1918)), a

in Shakespeare’s cinema of love
Celestino Deleyto

example, one of the most important texts in the history of the genre, Ernst Lubitsch’s Ninotchka (1939), a film that exhibits a keen awareness of the close cultural link between love and laughter. Count Leon D’Algout (Melvyn Douglas) has fallen in love with Ninotchka (Greta Garbo) and is struggling to break the cultural barrier between them and get her to admit that she is also in love with him. Conscious of the power of

in The secret life of romantic comedy
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My wife is an actress (and a star)
Felicity Chaplin

sleeps with lots of guys? Georges: Well, I don’t know. It’s her job … Yvan: Uh, I think you’re thinking of whores. Yvan goes on to assure Georges that his wife is just acting in these scenes, but Georges remains unconvinced. As the exchange escalates, Yvan becomes steadily less convinced of his own argument and the seeds of doubt are sown. Typical of many Parisienne films, including A Woman of Paris (dir. Charles Chaplin, 1923 ), Design for Living (dir. Ernst Lubitsch, 1933 ), Sabrina (dir. Billy Wilder, 1954 ), Une femme est une femme (dir

in Charlotte Gainsbourg