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Herr Lubitsch Goes to Hollywood: German and American Film after World War I

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Ernst Lubitsch, the German filmmaker who left Berlin for Hollywood in the 1920s, is best remembered today for the famous "Lubitsch touch" in such masterpieces as Ninotchka, which featured Greta Garbo's first-ever screen smile, and Heaven Can Wait. Kristin Thompson's study analyzes Lubitsch's earlier silent films of 1918 to 1927 in order to trace the mutual influences betwe Ernst Lubitsch, the German filmmaker who left Berlin for Hollywood in the 1920s, is best remembered today for the famous "Lubitsch touch" in such masterpieces as Ninotchka, which featured Greta Garbo's first-ever screen smile, and Heaven Can Wait. Kristin Thompson's study analyzes Lubitsch's earlier silent films of 1918 to 1927 in order to trace the mutual influences between the classical Hollywood film style as it had evolved in the 1910s and the German film industry of the same period, which had emerged from World War I second in strength only to Hollywood. During World War I, American firms supplied theaters around the world as French and Italian films had become scarce. Ironically, the war strengthened German filmmaking due to a ban on imports that lasted until 1921. During that period of isolation, Lubitsch became the finest proponent of German filmmaking and once Hollywood films appeared in Germany again Lubitsch was quick to absorb their stylistic traits as well. He soon became the unique master of both styles as the golden ages of the American and German cinema were beginning. This innovative study utilizes Lubitsch's silent films as a means to compare two great national cinemas at a vital formative period in cinema history.


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Ernst Lubitsch, the German filmmaker who left Berlin for Hollywood in the 1920s, is best remembered today for the famous "Lubitsch touch" in such masterpieces as Ninotchka, which featured Greta Garbo's first-ever screen smile, and Heaven Can Wait. Kristin Thompson's study analyzes Lubitsch's earlier silent films of 1918 to 1927 in order to trace the mutual influences betwe Ernst Lubitsch, the German filmmaker who left Berlin for Hollywood in the 1920s, is best remembered today for the famous "Lubitsch touch" in such masterpieces as Ninotchka, which featured Greta Garbo's first-ever screen smile, and Heaven Can Wait. Kristin Thompson's study analyzes Lubitsch's earlier silent films of 1918 to 1927 in order to trace the mutual influences between the classical Hollywood film style as it had evolved in the 1910s and the German film industry of the same period, which had emerged from World War I second in strength only to Hollywood. During World War I, American firms supplied theaters around the world as French and Italian films had become scarce. Ironically, the war strengthened German filmmaking due to a ban on imports that lasted until 1921. During that period of isolation, Lubitsch became the finest proponent of German filmmaking and once Hollywood films appeared in Germany again Lubitsch was quick to absorb their stylistic traits as well. He soon became the unique master of both styles as the golden ages of the American and German cinema were beginning. This innovative study utilizes Lubitsch's silent films as a means to compare two great national cinemas at a vital formative period in cinema history.

32 review for Herr Lubitsch Goes to Hollywood: German and American Film after World War I

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shawn H

    Kristin Thompson uses Lubitsch's career in Germany and America to examine the relationship between German and American filmmaking practices and techniques before, during, and after World War I. Because of Luistch's successful implementation of German filmmaking techniques in his early career and the Hollywood style of filmmaking throughout the 1920s, he is the ideal director to study to best understand the impact of Hollywood filmmaking on German filmmaking and vice versa. Although the scope of t Kristin Thompson uses Lubitsch's career in Germany and America to examine the relationship between German and American filmmaking practices and techniques before, during, and after World War I. Because of Luistch's successful implementation of German filmmaking techniques in his early career and the Hollywood style of filmmaking throughout the 1920s, he is the ideal director to study to best understand the impact of Hollywood filmmaking on German filmmaking and vice versa. Although the scope of the book is much larger than Lubitsch himself, Thompson's detailed examination of Lubitsch's silent-era films adeptly examines the evolution of Lubistchs's directorial style and the Lubitsch touch. After finishing Herr Lubitsch Goes to Hollywood I am eager to pick up a biography of Ernest Lubitsch himself and seek out more European and American silent films, this time looking for specific aspects of lighting, set design, editing, and acting discussed in the book. For any fans of Ernest Lubitsch's films or silent films in general, I highly recommend picking up Thompson's book to study for yourself. For a comprehensive review visit: http://theeverydaycinephile.com/artic...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

    Somewhat disappointingly, this concentrates on the technical aspects of film making, though the author does warn that this is the case at the outset. Some interesting quotes by and about Lubitsch, and a wee bit on one of my favorite of his actresses, Ossi Oswalda. Far too little on Pola Negri, of the same period, though the passage on why The Wildcat was not a success was interesting (too much expressionism-influenced craziness, which is one of the most marvelous aspects of the film). I was than Somewhat disappointingly, this concentrates on the technical aspects of film making, though the author does warn that this is the case at the outset. Some interesting quotes by and about Lubitsch, and a wee bit on one of my favorite of his actresses, Ossi Oswalda. Far too little on Pola Negri, of the same period, though the passage on why The Wildcat was not a success was interesting (too much expressionism-influenced craziness, which is one of the most marvelous aspects of the film). I was thankful for the free ebook, available via archive.org, but the MOBI version is riddled with bad OCR (nearly every 'un' is rendered as 'im'). In any case, more 'appreciated' than 'enjoyed,' and strictly for big fans or scholarly types.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Greta

    Really interesting book on how Lubitsch came from the German style of filmmaking and assimilated the Hollywood style. Talks about lighting, editing, sets, acting, etc. Sort of a follow up to CLASSICAL HOLLYWOOD CINEMA.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Häbbät

  5. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  6. 4 out of 5

    Milan

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tõnu Epner

  9. 5 out of 5

    Luke

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marta

  11. 5 out of 5

    Matt Parks

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  13. 4 out of 5

    Pnpnpn

  14. 5 out of 5

    Radomír D. Kokeš

  15. 4 out of 5

    Esraa

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jess

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hesam

  18. 5 out of 5

    Renan Virginio

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  20. 5 out of 5

    Daniela

  21. 4 out of 5

    rêveur d'art

  22. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marlon Ramirez

  24. 4 out of 5

    Creolecat

  25. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  26. 5 out of 5

    Frank

  27. 5 out of 5

    Krzysztof

  28. 4 out of 5

    hanna

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michalis

  30. 5 out of 5

    James Widdicombe

  31. 4 out of 5

    Anchoress Evelyn

  32. 5 out of 5

    Ellie F.

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