Ernst Lubitsch

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Ernst Lubitsch (January 28, 1892 – November 30, 1947) was a German-born [1] film director. His urbane comedies of manners gave him the reputation of being Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated director; as his prestige grew, his films were promoted as having "the Lubitsch touch".

In 1947 he received an Honorary Academy Award for his distinguished contributions to the art of the motion picture, and he was nominated 3 times for Best Director.

Contents

Biography

Born in Berlin, as son of a Jewish tailor Simcha (Simon) Lubitch (Russian: Любич) and his wife Anna of Russian immigrants. Lubitsch turned his back on his father's tailoring business to enter the theater, and by 1911, he was a member of Max Reinhardt's Deutsches Theater. He made his film debut the following year as an actor, but he gradually abandoned acting to concentrate on directing.

Weimar years (1918-1922)

In 1918, he made his mark as a serious director with Die Augen der Mumie Ma (The Eyes of the Mummy), starring Pola Negri. Lubitsch alternated between escapist comedies and large-scale historical dramas, enjoying great international success with both. His reputation as a grand master of world cinema reached a new peak after the release of his spectacles Madame Du Barry (retitled Passion, 1919) and Anna Boleyn (Deception, 1920). Both of these films found American distributorship by early 1921. They, along with Lubitsch's Carmen (released as Gypsy Blood in the U.S. in 1921) were selected by the New York Times on its list of the 15 most important movies of 1921.

With glowing reviews under his belt, and American money flowing his way, Lubitsch formed his own production company and set to work on the high-budget spectacular The Loves of Pharaoh (1921). Lubitsch sailed to the United States for the first time in December 1921 for what was intended as a lengthy publicity and professional factfinding tour, scheduled to culminate in the February premiere of Pharaoh. However, with World War I still fresh, and with a slew of German "New Wave' releases encroaching on American movie workers' livelihoods, Lubitsch was not gladly received. He cut his trip short after little more than three weeks and returned to Germany. But he had already seen enough of the American film industry to know that its resources far outstripped the spartan German companies.

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