Monday, July 02, 2018

Ernst Lubitsch Retrospective Opens Friday at UCLA

There's a fantastic movie series at UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood this summer: How Did Lubitsch Do It? Ernst Lubitsch Revisited.

The series ties in with the brand-new book HOW DID LUBITSCH DO IT? by Joseph McBride.

My copy of the book is currently en route to me, which is particularly great timing as McBride will be at the theater signing copies of his book on July 6th and 7th.

The series opens this Friday evening, July 6th, with the silent comedy SO THIS IS PARIS (1923). Although I can't be there opening night, I was fortunate to see SO THIS IS PARIS last year at the TCM Classic Film Festival. It was delightful fun and I recommend it. There will be live musical accompaniment by Cliff Retallick.

I'll be there -- and ask to have my book signed! -- on July 7th, when there's a double bill of NINOTCHKA (1939) and THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940). As many film fans will be aware, NINOTCHKA stars Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas, while THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER stars James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. While I've seen both films, I've never seen either of them on a big screen, so this will be a treat!

July 20th features Ronald Colman in the silent film LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN (1924), also starring May McAvoy. It's paired with the German film SUMURUN (1920). Cliff Retallick will again provide live music.

There's a superb double bill on July 21st, with Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, and Robert Stack in TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1942), followed by Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier in ONE HOUR WITH YOU (1932). I just saw TO BE OR NOT TO BE at UCLA in 2016 and saw ONE HOUR WITH YOU last year at the TCM Classic Film Festival, but I just might go see these again. Movies don't come any better.

On July 29th there's a silent triple bill with music by Cliff Retallick, comprised of THE OYSTER PRINCESS (1919), I DON'T WANT TO BE A MAN (1919), and FORBIDDEN PARADISE (1924). Looks like an interesting evening of discovery.

August 4th features the all-time classic TROUBLE IN PARADISE (1932), starring Herbert Marshall, Miriam Hopkins, and Kay Francis. Although I just saw it at UCLA last year, I might see it again because it's on a double bill with ANGEL (1937), which I've never seen; ANGEL stars Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, and Melvyn Douglas. Looks like a great evening!

On August 11th the films are HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1943), starring Don Ameche and Gene Tierney in splendid Technicolor, and DESIGN FOR LIVING (1933) starring Miriam Hopkins, Fredric March, and Gary Cooper. I honestly wasn't a very big fan of DESIGN FOR LIVING last time I saw it and am interested in giving it a second chance on a big screen with an appreciative audience.

The series concludes on August 24th with BLUEBEARD'S EIGHTH WIFE (1938) and THE MERRY WIDOW (1934). Gary Cooper and Claudette Colbert are the stars of BLUEBEARD'S EIGHTH WIFE, while Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier star in THE MERRY WIDOW. I just saw THE MERRY WIDOW at the TCM Classic Film Festival in April, but I enjoyed it so much I certainly wouldn't mind seeing it again, especially as it's teamed with a film I've never seen in a theater!

This series is a wonderful chance to see many great Lubitsch films on a big screen; most of the films will be shown in 35mm, with one film screened in 16mm and a digital print of another film.

About the only thing which would have made this series absolute perfection for me would have been an additional double bill of CLUNY BROWN (1946) and THAT LADY IN ERMINE (1948), but I guess we can't have it all (grin).

Starting in late July UCLA also has an amazing series of Bob Fosse films, including THE PAJAMA GAME (1957), which I haven't seen on a big screen since I was a teenager. I'll be sharing more information about the Fosse series later in the month.

There's also a nitrate Archive Treasures screening of William Wyler's COUNSELLOR AT LAW (1933) on the 27th.

Southern California film fans have much to look forward to at UCLA this summer!

Update: There's even more Lubitsch playing in Los Angeles this month: DESIGN FOR LIVING will also play at the Egyptian Theatre on July 21st, preceded by a talk by Miriam Hopkins biographer Allan Ellenberger. Thanks to reader Elizabeth for passing on the information! (Update: My report on the Egyptian event is here.)

Update: Here's a post on the double bill of NINOTCHKA (1939) and THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940). What a wonderful evening!

Update: I had a great time at the double bill of LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN (1925) and SUMURUN (1920), which I've written about here.

Update: Here is my account of an evening spent watching a trio of Lubitsch silents, THE OYSTER PRINCESS (1919), I DON'T WANT TO BE A MAN (1918), and FORBIDDEN PARADISE (1924).

Update: Tonight I saw the wonderful TROUBLE IN PARADISE (1932) paired with ANGEL (1937).


Blogger Vienna said...

Sounds terrific summer viewing.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Stefano said...

Yes, UCLA is the place to be this summer for LA film lovers. It was announced at last Friday's Billy Wilder screenings that complicated rights issues were cleared to show both "Pajama Game" and "D--n Yankees", on the same night! (last Friday, the film prints of "Now, Voyager" and "Old Acquaintance" were lustrously beautiful).

I suspect that Liza Minnelli is the special guest slated to appear at the "Cabaret" showing, schedule permitting.

I agree with your double bill choice for Lubitsch titles not programed, and wish that "Rosita" with Mary Pickford would get a viewing; also I recall you saw a good 35mm print of "Merry Widow" at the TCM festival, while UCLA is getting a 16mm version. But the silent Lubitsch rarities are something else. Viva Lubitsch!

11:15 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm very excited, Vienna!

Stefano, wish I had been able to be at the NOW, VOYAGER/OLD ACQUAINTANCE screening but should be making up for it with numerous trips to the Billy Wilder Theater this summer! I love PAJAMA GAME and am thrilled at the prospect of seeing it on the big screen there.

I had been hoping ROSITA would make it to the Lubitsch festival -- perhaps it will turn up at UCLA separately? I had wondered if it would be in the 2019 UCLA Festival of Preservation but since it's not a UCLA restoration, maybe not?

I did think it strange that MERRY WIDOW will be in 16mm, when I saw such a nice 35mm print this past spring. Checked the TCMFF guide and it says the print was courtesy of Warner Bros. so you'd think they could get it for this festival. The UCLA site doesn't say more about the provenance of the 16mm print.

Best wishes,

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been to the first two nights, I don't remember exactly when but either before or after "So This Is Paris", in the conversation about the festival and Lubitsch films, they said that "Rosita" would be playing at the Egyptian Theater in the fall. So keep an eye out for it!

1:52 AM  

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