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PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

“THE LUBITSCH TOUCH”

Through Thursday, June 15

Commemorating the 125th anniversary of his birth

Additional screenings through July 2

“HOW WOULD LUBITSCH HAVE DONE IT?” asked a sign in Billy Wilder’s office. After making hit sex comedies and lavish spectacles in his native Germany, Ernst Lubitsch (1892-1947) revolutionized American movies with a sui generis subtlety, visual wit, and sophisticated innuendo – the fabled “Lubitsch Touch” (as definitive a trademark as “Master of Suspense” would be for Hitchcock), inventing the modern movie musical and romantic comedy in the process. Years after Lubitsch’s death, Wilder (an up-close observer as a three-time scenarist for the Master) remarked, “For years we all tried to find the secret of ‘The Lubitsch Touch.’ If we were lucky, we’d sometimes make a film like Lubitsch. Like Lubitsch, not real Lubitsch.”

CLICK HERE TO SEE REMAINING SILENT FILMS IN LUBITSCH FESTIVAL (all with live piano accompaniment)

Reviews

“Ernst Lubitsch serves medicinal bitters in the champagne flutes of this terse, elliptical, comedy-tinged yet pain-seared romance… With suavely piercing touches of erotic wit, he points ahead to the modern audacities of Belle de Jour and Last Tango in Paris, and to the higher irresponsibilities that make life worth living. In Lubitsch’s world, all politics is sexual.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Always-surprising wit, uncanny sophistication, and radiating charm… No single filmmaker has provided me with more sheer delight.” 
– David Noh, Gay City News

“The prodigious ellipses in his plots work only because our laughter bridges the scenes. In the Lubitsch Swiss cheese, each hole winks… What cannot be learned or bought is the charm and mischievousness, ah, the mischievous charm of Lubitsch, which truly made him a prince... If you said to me, ‘I have just seen a Lubitsch in which there was one needless shot,’ I’d call you a liar. His cinema is the opposite of the vague, the imprecise, the unformulated, the incommunicable. There’s not a single shot just for decoration; nothing is included just because it looks good. From beginning to end, we are involved only in what is essential.”
– François Truffaut

“[Lubitsch] remained almost single-mindedly committed to producing wry, light, sparkling comedies that reflected the values of graciousness and grace.”
– Nick Pinkerton, ARTFORUM

“[Lubitsch] offers a parallel domain of buoyant elegance, a theater of free-floating desire and inextinguishable humor ingeniously stitched together out of the fabric of Austrian operettas and French farces and the plot devices of a hundred forgotten Hungarian plays, flavored by delicate irony and risqué innuendo, where sex is everywhere but just out of sight behind discreetly closed doors, constantly implied in what is never quite stated… Every object, every glance, every vocal nuance delineates a pulsating network of crisscrossing inclinations and resistances”
– Geoffrey O’Brien, The New York Review of Books

“Ernst Lubitsch stands in no danger of being forgotten, and while this extensive tribute to the great man (on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of his birth) includes some rarities, there are also a number of films that are frequently revived. So, one might ask sternly in the voice of Greta Garbo’s Ninotchka, must we have more Lubitsch? We certainly must, and we should. As the world grows steadily more coarse and obvious, Lubitsch’s unique brand of easy virtue still appeals. He lived through times far more cataclysmic than our own, yet he clung to his vision of humanity: flawed, hypocritical, at times selfish, but all the same — as Melvyn Douglas’s Leon tells Ninotchka — ‘this doomed old civilization sparkles.’”
– Farran Smith Nehme, The Village Voice

“One of the enduring glories of the American cinema.” 
- Dave Kehr

“[The Lubitsch touch] was a kind of lost art, like Chinese glass-blowing.” 
– Billy Wilder

“[Lubitsch has the] ability to see-saw from silliness to elegance, from joy to melancholy, and never make viewers feel the whiplash.”
– Matt Prigge, Metro

“A FEAST! You can’t go wrong with a retrospective of Ernst Lubitsch, whose movies still sparkle with urbanity and sly wit.”
– Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

“ONE OF THE MOST ELEGANT AND WILDLY FUNNY DIRECTORS IN THE HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD.”
– David Coggins, Ralph Lauren Magazine

Films in this Series

Friday, June 2

12:30   2:30   4:30   8:15

Friday, June 2

♪6:30

Saturday, June 3

12:30   6:00

Saturday, June 3

2:40   8:20

Saturday, June 3

♪4:40

Sunday, June 4

♪1:10

Sunday, June 4

3:20   7:10

Sunday, June 4

5:20   9:10

Monday, June 5

THE MAN I KILLED (BROKEN LULLABY)
12:30   3:40   7:45

ETERNAL LOVE
2:10   5:15   9:20

Tuesday, June 6

THE LOVE PARADE
12:30   4:30   8:30

MONTE CARLO
2:40   6:40

Wednesday, June 7

BLUEBEARD’S EIGHTH WIFE
12:50   4:20   7:50

THE SMILING LIEUTENANT
2:30   6:00   9:30

Thursday, June 8

DESIGN FOR LIVING
12:30   4:10   7:50

ANGEL
2:20   6:00   9:40

Friday, June 9

12:30   2:15   4:00   8:20

Saturday, June 10

12:30   8:45

Saturday, June 10

2:30   6:45

Sunday, June 11

1:00   6:50

Sunday, June 11

3:10*

Sunday, June 11

4:50   9:00

Monday, June 12

THE MERRY WIDOW
12:30   4:10   7:50


ONE HOUR WITH YOU
2:30   6:10   9:50

Tuesday, June 13

12:30   4:40

Tuesday, June 13

2:30

Tuesday, June 13

♪6:40

Tuesday, June 13

8:00

Wednesday, June 14

DESIGN FOR LIVING
12:30   4:10
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ANGEL
2:20   6:00
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Thursday, June 15

12:30   4:40

Thursday, June 15

2:30   8:30