July 26

LUBITSCH: THE CHAPLIN TOUCH

What did Hollywood’s pre-eminent observer of social mores learn from the master of pathos-drenched slapstick? This program explores the little-known connections between the work of Charlie Chaplin (1889–1977) and Ernst Lubitsch (1892–1947). The two directors were friends and, before its release, Chaplin showed Lubitsch a rough cut of A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate, an atypical Chaplin film in that it is neither a comedy (its subtitle should be regarded in earnest) nor features its director onscreen (other than in a very brief cameo). Working on his breakthrough American film The Marriage Circle around the same time, Lubitsch praised Chaplin’s film’s intelligence and sophistication, seeing it as a “great step forward.” Our program concludes with The Oyster Princess, a wildly inventive demonstration that “the Lubitsch Touch” could also encompass broad slapstick.

July 26

7:00pm THE MARRIAGE CIRCLE
Ernst Lubitsch (1924) 85 mins
Unclassified 15+ (unless accompanied by an adult)

Lubitsch’s breakthrough American film established the sophisticated style and sensibility that marked his greatest work in Hollywood. This highly influential comedy of manners, itself inspired by Chaplin’s A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate and remade as One Hour With You, fixates on the flirtations, indiscretions and infidelities of a “circle” of well-heeled married couples in licentious Vienna. Lubitsch’s elegant roundelay features knowing performances by a wonderful array of silent-era talent including Florence Vidor, Monte Blue, Marie Prevost and the impossibly suave, Adolphe Menjou.

Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation and The Film Foundation.

CTEQ ANNOTATION:
Nuanced Complexity: The Marriage Circle and the Early Days of the ‘Lubitsch Touch’ by Isabella McNeill


8:35pm A WOMAN OF PARIS: A DRAMA OF FATE
Charles Chaplin (1923) 78 mins PG

A commercial failure on its initial release, Chaplin’s bold and subtle romantic drama is now widely regarded as one of the key works of his long career. This sophisticated, groundbreakingly complex drama of manners involves a French girl (Chaplin favourite Edna Purviance) who, due to a misunderstanding, fails to marry her sweetheart and ends up in Paris as the mistress of a perennial sophisticate (Adolphe Menjou). One of only two features Chaplin directed and didn’t star in, it was a key influence on Lubitsch’s American career.

35mm print courtesy of the National Film & Sound Archive, Australia.

CTEQ ANNOTATION:
A Woman of Paris by James L. Neibaur


10:00pm THE OYSTER PRINCESS
Ernst Lubitsch (1919) 48 mins
Unclassified 15+ (unless accompanied by an adult)

This exuberant, extravagant romp represents the director’s famous “touch” in its earliest embryonic incarnation. In true screwball style, the film is laden with mistaken identities, romantic rivalries and good-natured digs at the rich, both ancien and nouveau. Over-the-top set pieces involving crazed foxtrots and multitudes of servants prefigure The Love Parade a decade later. Features a winning performance by popular star Ossi Oswalda, a key actor in Lubitsch’s early work, widely known as “the German Mary Pickford.”

35mm print courtesy of the National Film & Sound Archive, Australia.

CTEQ ANNOTATION:
Die Austernprinzessin by Michael Ewins

February 5
OPENING NIGHT

February 12 – February 26
VITTORIO DE SICA: CINEMA, ITALIAN STYLE

March 4 – March 18
LIGHT AND SHADOW: THE MERCURIAL STARDOM OF MARLENE DIETRICH

March 23 – April 6
CAST A DARK SHADOW: THE BEAUTIFUL SADNESS OF DIRK BOGARDE

April 13 – April 29
THE BIG CARNIVAL: THE FILMS OF BILLY WILDER

May 6 – May 20
“LIFE’S PARADE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS”: DOUGLAS SIRK

May 27 – June 10
WILDFLOWERS: DANCING, DESIRE AND FREEDOM IN THE FILMS OF GILLIAN ARMSTRONG

June 17 – July 1
DRIFTING STATES: THE FILMS OF APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL

July 8
AT HOME IN THE WORLD: CECIL HOLMES, ACTIVIST FILMMAKER

July 15 – July 29
HIROSHI SHIMIZU: FORGOTTEN MASTER

September 2 – September 16
JEAN COCTEAU: THE POETRY OF DREAMS

September 23 – September 30
QUEERING THE ARCHIVE: THE CINEMA OF BARBARA HAMMER

October 7 – October 14
GALLOWS BACCHANALIAS, FRACTIOUS FAIRY-TALES AND THE RULE OF THREE: THE CINEMA OF JURAJ JAKUBISKO

October 21 – November 4
REACHING BEYOND THE FRAME: THE POETIC CINEMA OF ABBAS KIAROSTAMI

November 11 – November 25
BORSCHT, SAUERKRAUT, GOULASH AND LEMONADE: AN INTRODUCTION TO OSTERNS AND RED WESTERNS

December 2 – December 16
THE LAND IS OURS: YOUSSEF CHAHINE