Biography of Ernst Lubitsch (1892-1947)

Director and actor of American film of German origin, born in Berlin on 28 January 1892 and died in Hollywood (California. United States) on November 30, 1947.


Son of Jewish immigrants, his early years were linked to the textile business, at the time which was applied as a student at Sophien Gymnasium of his city. 17 years, took his first steps in the world of the cinema working on all that which asked the Berlin studies of the Bioscope. Certainly began with right foot as an actor, both extra as in the papers soon offered him the famous director of theatre and film Max Reinhardt in his company. The experience accumulated over this time helped him to deal with numerous comical short when as he/she was twenty years old: films of a coil, one of which was based on an own script were (as Fräulein Seifenschaum, 1914, or Als ich War, 1916), produced almost all of the Union-Film and with a very good popular and economic result, so they placed him in the crosshairs of other producers. Then he/she made movies of larger, including his collaboration with Pola Negri and Emil Jannings in the eyes of the Mummy (1918) and Madame Du Barry (1919) - one of its most notable successes of the German Cinema of the time-.

After visiting United States ever, he/she settled definitely in Hollywood from the call of Mary Pickford so direct it at Rosita, the street singer (1923). Ernst became the Mecca of cinema in an important moment of great transformation in their approaches to production. Hence quickly their bonding becomes effective one of large studies of those years, Warner Bros, for which addressed the dangers of the flirt (1924), female, keeps your heart (1924) and the abanico de Lady Windermere (1925), among others. His career, confirmed the high level of their work and the effectiveness of its contributions, shows that it is capable of addressing all types of stories, both historical dramas or comedies.

In these years, Lubitsch points out some of her film face profiles: pleasure for the simple stories and transgressive tone suggested therein. A model director, able to adjust to the approaches of production of studies, was considered but I knew of his ability to provoke situations out of all Convention, within the framework of a commitment to the tone cheerful and fun, always full of wit. In the line of work "study", Lubitsch confirms that far from being a mere craftsman it has a feature that distinguishes it from others: a talent undeniable to make the most the ability to call for deals led by Florence Vidor, May MacAvoy or Pola Negri, among the actresses, and Monte Blue, Ronald Colman and Adolphe Menjou, between the actors; in any case, some of the best faces in the industry of cinema of that time.

Two years after frivolity of a lady (1924), the Berlin director came fully into the Paramount Studios for which he/she directed twelve of his following films, as well as exercise as director of production during that time. Once there, he/she took up the challenge of sound in a series of works that began with the parade of love (1929), continued with one hour with you (1932), and ended with the Merry Widow (1934) - is a production of the Metro Goldwyn Mayer - movies having starring the couple formed by Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald; It's operettas reconstructing worlds unknown with tangles of different spirit and grace.

But beyond these contributions, most fruit of an era in which the introduction of sound films seems to affect the creative design of many directors, it must be said that the expressive vitality of Lubitsch is concentrated, especially in the last decade of his career. A thief in the alcove (1932) is a surprising comedy that overrides the idea that what you see is not what you really intended to be: what's behind the door? in what can finish an intimate dinner? What happens under the table? can it be a seemingly different, compatible couple? Don't worry - I could say Lubitsch-this is like life itself!. This is the elegance of style, in a peculiar way of offering a series of stories that converge in the mind of the audience suggesting that couples are two walls - away hide - hear, rooms to have many doors, that is not known to what happens in the interior of the room from the corridora gesture is enough to understand an entire sequence. Suffice, in this sense, the plastic of the Merry Widow (1934), exceptional virtuosity visual, agile and provocative story, in which hard the spectator can be kept out of what happens or inattention the least (style that had already been defined from the dangers of the flirt or woman, keep your heart).

In these thirty years Ernst built, definitely, his apparently artificial world: not projected his gaze on things or facts, but that he/she exalted the idea that gives rise to the viewer think about what is not shown. The irrelevant comments, contagious laughter, suggestive looks that are part of the human ritual drama screen accommodating on the skin which is watching the film. In the background, the work of Lubitsch holds a great deal of humour under the robes of irony and satire in which has always involved the experiences of mortals.

In this sense, two of his later works, left a deep mark on the cinema of the time. Addressed two totalitarian models as the Communist and nazi, is quite a challenge. This is how they develop, hand Ninotchka (1939), history of wits starring Greta Garbo, in which solid ideals of a young Communist come to collapse, simply, by the grace of a funny hat. The simple story makes much of the idea of Lubitsch, all wit. The other case is to be or not to be (1942), where Ernst confirms that, with their elaborate scripts, is anticipated in a few years to the canned laughter that uses television, with the mastery and the dignity of a laugh that comes out of a few spectators who are part of that script, because they cover a situation transit passages to another. It is here, in this building, where is confirmed that times do not exist in the work of Lubitsch, its "apparent" narrative sense, which perhaps would be the magic of the story that is being contemplated without them.

If in or may not be the theatre goes beyond its space to integrate fully into life - confusion they live some of the characters of the film, this confusion is a leitmotif in much of the work of the German director, where you always tries to subtract importance more committed action and drama to the visions tougher events that are captured.

Ernst Lubitsch was a director who knew how to take advantage of opportunities which gave you the American film industry to perform a series of very European films. Its central European looks are testimony that knows to export ideas of the old continent with which Americans enjoy. Perhaps because they are not willing or able to make them, especially with this ingenious visual proposal filled with allusions, suggestions, omissions, which plays a key role the unconscious human, the hidden wishes, gaze captive.

Although several of his films were nominated in the various sections of the Hollywood Academy Awards, only the Merry Widow (1934) received the Oscar to the best decoration (Cedric Gibbons and Frederic Hope). However, a few months before his death, received a special Oscar for his contribution to cinematographic art; without a doubt, a well deserved award.



Short and medium-length films (actor in many of them): 1914: Fräulein Seifenschaum (and screenwriter). 1915: Blinde Kuh; Aufs Els Geführt; Zucker Und Zimt (and co-writer). 1916: Leutnant Auf Befehl; Wo Ist Mein Schatz?; ALS Ich Tot War; Schuhpalast Pinkus; Der Schwarze Moritz; Der Gemischte Frauenchor; The mother of the puppies. 1917: Ossis Tagebuch (and co-writer); Seine Neue Nase; Der Blusenkönig; The girl of the millions (and co-writer); Ein Fideles Gefängnis. 1918: Passenger without a ticket; Prinz Salmi; ICH möchte Kein Mann Sein (and co-writer); Der Fall Rosentopf; The dancer of the mask (and screenwriter); Marionetten. 1919: Meyer Aus Berlin; My wife, artist film; Schwabenmadle.

Largometrajes1918: The eyes of the Mummy; Carmen.1919: The Princess of the oysters (and co-writer); Rausch; Madame Du Barry; Doll (and co-writer). 1920: the daughters of the Brewer (and co-writer); Romeo and Juliet (and co-writer); Sumurun (and co-writer); Anne Boleyn. 1921: The Wildcat (and co-writer). 1922: the wife of Pharaoh (and co-producer); Montmartre (and co-producer). 1923: Rosita, the street singer. 1924: The dangers of the flirt; Female, guard your heart; The frivolity of a lady. 1925: Get a divorce; Lady Windermere's fan. 1926: The madness of the charleston. 1927: The Student Prince. 1928: Patriot (and editor). 1929: eternal love; The love parade. 1930: Galas of the Paramount (Co-Director); Montecarlo.1931: The seductive Lieutenant (producer and co-writer). 1932: remorse (and producer); One hour with you (and producer); A thief in the bedroom (and producer); The employee (episode of "If I had a million"). 1933: A woman for two (and producer). 1934: the Merry Widow. 1937: Ángel (and producer). 1938: woman blue beard (and producer) the eighth. 1939: Ninotchka (and producer). 1940: the bazaar of surprises (and producer). 1941: what they think women (and producer). 1942: or may not be (producer and argument). 1943: the devil said no (and producer). 1946: sin of Cluny Brown (and producer). 1948: That Lady in Ermine (and producer).


1912: das Mirakel; Venezianische Nächte. 1913: Bedingung: Kein Anhang; Meyer Auf Der Alm. 1914: Die signature Heiratet; Fräulein Piccolo; Meyer Als Soldat; The pride of the firm; Rund Um Die Ehe; Hans Trutz Mi Schalaraffenland. 1915: Robert Und Bertram; Assemble Marie!.1916: Dr. Satansohn. 1933: Mr. Broadway. 1945: The Tsarina (and producer); Where Do We Go From Here?.

Other works

1919: Der Lustige Ehemann (scriptwriter). 1936: desire (producer and scriptwriter). 1946: Dragonwyck (producer) Castle.


EYMAN, Scott: Ernst Lubitsch. Madrid. Plot editions. 1997.

RUSSELL TAYLOR, John: Strangers in paradise. The Emigres 1933-1950 Hollywood. Valladolid. 33 film week. 1988.

WEINBERG, Herman: The Lubitsch touch. Barcelona. Lumen. 1980.