Ninotchka: Greta Garbo’s Penultimate Film

Ninotchka, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, stars Greta Garbo in her first screen comedy in the era of sound but it would be her second-to-last film. The film is notable for a few reasons.  For one, it teams Lubitsch with Garbo.  Two, it’s the second of two Lubitsch films that featured the writing team of Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder. All in all, the film would go on to earn four Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best…

"Ninotchka: Greta Garbo’s Penultimate Film"

Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise by Scott Eyman

Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise, written by film historian Scott Eyman, is the definitive biography of the To Be or Not To Be filmmaker. The first thing I took away in reading Eyman’s biography is that Lubitsch was considered to be “The Griffith of Europe.”  Unfortunately, the filmmaker also emulated Griffith in more ways than one.  This includes, sadly, wearing blackface as one of his characters.  It’s sad and unfortunate because he was one of…

"Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise by Scott Eyman"

To Be Or Not to Be: A Great Holocaust Satire

Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be Or Not to Be, starring Jack Benny and Carole Lombard, is a top-notch World War 2 satire taking place during the Holocaust. The film starts out in prior to the 1939 Nazi Invasion of Warsaw, Poland.  We meet a play of theatrical actors led by husband and wife, Josef Tura (Jack Benny) and Maria Tura (Carole Lombard).  They’re leading the rehearsals for a satirical play, Gestapo.  Bronski (Tom Dugan) passes for…

"To Be Or Not to Be: A Great Holocaust Satire"