Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

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PMBen

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Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostSun Mar 06, 2016 7:47 am

Hello everyone!

Why is it that many of Lubitsch surviving silent Hollywood films are so difficult to access? I'm thinking about Rosita (it's on the Internet, but with a lousy image quality), So this is Paris (ditto), and very especially, Three Women and Forbidden Paradise.

Is no company out there interested in offering quality home video releases of them? The same can be said about the reconstruction of Die Flamme and the surviving reel of The Patriot. They've been there for years, but aside from film festivals, they have not been available to the public. And DVDs of them for sale would certainly be profitable.

We are talking about Lubitsch and some of his major productions here, anyone knows if there are copyright issues or something else that prevents the films to arrive to a general audience?
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Ann Harding

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostSun Mar 06, 2016 9:47 am

I saw all the above mentioned films at a Lubitsch retrospective a few years back. Rosita survives as a very poor Russian print. I can imagine that restoring something in such a pitiful state would be very hard. Forbidden Paradise also survives as a very poor Czech print whereas there is an excellent print of Three Women, originally from the Cinémathèque française. So This is Paris was broadcast a few years back on French TCM; there is also an excellent print of that one.
Dave Kehr mentioned on Nitrateville that MoMA is strating to restore Rosita.
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Steve Massa

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostSun Mar 06, 2016 10:37 am

Here's a link to a recent CBS THIS MORNING piece about MoMA's restoration of ROSITA:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/moma-museum ... on-rosita/
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostSun Mar 06, 2016 11:43 am

I've seen MoMA's poor quality print of Forbidden Paradise, which is incomplete, but I believe a better one exists at Eastman House in Rochester NY, if I'm not mistaken.
-- Charlie Morrow
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Jess McGrath

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostSun Mar 06, 2016 12:17 pm

SO THIS IS PARIS is playing on Saturday, March 12th at Film Forum in NYC. The ad lists the print as courtesy the Library of Congress.
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostSun Mar 06, 2016 12:58 pm

Jess McGrath wrote:SO THIS IS PARIS is playing on Saturday, March 12th at Film Forum in NYC. The ad lists the print as courtesy the Library of Congress.


I hope to be there. This is one of a handful of Lubitsch films I've never seen in any form.
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Jeff Crouse

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostSun Mar 06, 2016 1:36 pm

One lost Lubitsch film, Kiss Me Again (1925), is barely mentioned by silent film buffs, but for me is a holy grail of lost cinema. Why? Because it's the only time Clara Bow ever worked for Ernst Lubitsch. Imagine that!
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BenModel

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostSun Mar 06, 2016 4:17 pm

Mainly copyright issues as most of the US-made silent Lubitsch's were done for WB, and their label (as has been discussed here) is not super interested in releasing a silent unless there are extant Vitaphone discs. Lady Windermere's Fan is on one of the Treasures sets.

Ben
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostSun Mar 06, 2016 4:49 pm

Although I didn't see the above films, they were all (I think) scheduled at the NFT in the 1970s, so whether anyone out there on Nitrateville saw these shows... And yes, the upload of ROSITA looks pretty crummy, but will have to do for now...
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Rollo Treadway

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostMon Mar 07, 2016 1:54 am

Jeff Crouse wrote:One lost Lubitsch film, Kiss Me Again (1925), is barely mentioned by silent film buffs, but for me is a holy grail of lost cinema. Why? Because it's the only time Clara Bow ever worked for Ernst Lubitsch. Imagine that!

Ditto! All this and Marie Prevost too.

As for the ones that do exist, I especially hope So This Paris will be made available. Even judging from the poor print that's been circulating, it's some of the most brilliant stuff he ever did.
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostSun Mar 13, 2016 7:57 am

I was at Film Forum last night for So This is Paris. Packed house and a gorgeous 35mm print, accompanied by the estimable Steve Sterner at the keyboard. What’s not to like?

It’s a highly enjoyable movie, very much in keeping with Lubitsch’s other marital farces of the period. Monte Blue, Patsy Ruth Miller, Lilyan Tashman, and André Beranger are the two inter-twined couples, all chasing after each other. (Myrna Loy has a brief bit as a maid, seen only in a medium long shot. Blink and you miss her.) The director provides a number of flashy, amusing visual gags, culminating in the best known sequence, a wild Charleston contest at the Artists’ Ball. That scene alone, excerpted from the movie, could stand as a definitive depiction of the “Roaring Twenties.”

The actors were fine, but no one was a particular standout—this is an ensemble piece. That’s something of a drawback, albeit a minor one, in that none of the characters display the distinctive personality quirks that make the best Lubitsch comedies so memorable. The roles could be recast with any number of other players, without losing anything. But even so, it’s a delightful film. I don’t know why it’s been so elusive. The print appeared to be complete, and looked great.
-- Charlie Morrow
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George O'Brien

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostMon Mar 14, 2016 6:10 pm

Charlie Morrow, you just conjured up a memory. I watched "So This Is Paris" with Patsy Ruth Miller.

This was at the Film Forum, too. It had to be some time in the mid 90's, at the prior location. She sat in the audience, a few rows behind yours truly, and afterwards got up on stage for a talk and a Q&A. She was tiny, and all in black, and a charming story teller. I made her smile by mentioning her "little brother" Winston who started out in films playing the child who grows up to be George O'Brien in two back to back 1924 films, "The Iron Horse" and "The Man Who Came Back".

"So This Is Paris" was delightful, and my impression was the same as yours: a very good print, with no one actor standing out, as Irene Rich does in "Lady Windermere's Fan". It was a true ensemble piece, and that dazzling Jazz Age montage sequence capped it all nicely.

I just checked the Film Forum site and this current series seems very much like the series I recall from the 90's. I remember seeing "Dancing Mothers" introduced by William Everson, and an evening of rare film clips presented by collector Herb Graff.

That double bill of "The Barker" and "Safe in Hell" looks pretty inviting.
http://filmforum.org/" target="_blank
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostMon Mar 14, 2016 8:17 pm

George O'Brien wrote:Charlie Morrow, you just conjured up a memory. I watched "So This Is Paris" with Patsy Ruth Miller.

This was at the Film Forum, too. It had to be some time in the mid 90's, at the prior location. She sat in the audience, a few rows behind yours truly, and afterwards got up on stage for a talk and a Q&A. She was tiny, and all in black, and a charming story teller. I made her smile by mentioning her "little brother" Winston who started out in films playing the child who grows up to be George O'Brien in two back to back 1924 films, "The Iron Horse" and "The Man Who Came Back".

"So This Is Paris" was delightful, and my impression was the same as yours: a very good print, with no one actor standing out, as Irene Rich does in "Lady Windermere's Fan". It was a true ensemble piece, and that dazzling Jazz Age montage sequence capped it all nicely.

I just checked the Film Forum site and this current series seems very much like the series I recall from the 90's. I remember seeing "Dancing Mothers" introduced by William Everson, and an evening of rare film clips presented by collector Herb Graff.

That double bill of "The Barker" and "Safe in Hell" looks pretty inviting.
http://filmforum.org/" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank


After the screening the other night, Film Forum's Bruce Goldstein (director of repertory programming) got up and talked about the evening Patsy Ruth Miller was there -- he remembered it as 1987. I do recall FF's earlier location, and was there several times, but unfortunately not on that occasion.

They're showing lots of great stuff in the current series. And I expect to be there for The Barker, tomorrow!
-- Charlie Morrow
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George O'Brien

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostMon Mar 14, 2016 9:30 pm

Damn, it's tomorrow. And I see it's only a one day run. Well, please post about it. I'd love to hear.

And I'd love to ask that "friend of Dorothy's" if his friend ever mentioned George O'Brien or Lothar Mendes. She did two films withe former, and was briefly married to the latter. George took a trip to Hawaii to see Dorothy in 1968.

As for Patsy's appearance at Film Forum - '89 may be more like it. I do remember the series was in Autumn. Everson wore the same ordinary, old suit I have since seen him wearing in the photo one sees online of him with Marilyn Monroe.

Enjoy the show
"This bar of likker is now a bar of justice!"
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Jess McGrath

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostTue Mar 15, 2016 8:10 pm

I went to Film Forum tonight to see THE BARKER. Surprised that turnout wasn't better - I'd estimate it at half-full. I suspect many who would have come instead waited for the later screening of SAFE IN HELL.

It's too bad THE BARKER can't find its way to wider release (rights issues?), as it's really quite excellent. The cast is phenomenal - Milton Sills, Doug Fairbanks Jr., Betty Compson, and Dorothy Mackaill. Some great lines from Sills while "barking" in the talkie scenes - not to mention some hilarious intertitles as Compson, Mackaill, and company get the unsuspecting Fairbanks soused.

And having seen a number of part-talkies, I thought this one handled the "sound to silent and back again" transition about as well as any that I've seen (WEARY RIVER would be in a similar category).

Definitely worth checking out if there's a screening in your area.
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostTue Mar 15, 2016 8:34 pm

Jess McGrath wrote:And having seen a number of part-talkies, I thought this one handled the "sound to silent and back again" transition about as well as any that I've seen (WEARY RIVER would be in a similar category).


Agreed! I've never seen a part-talkie/part-silent that works so well, mainly because the musical track is continuous. In most if not all of the hybrids I've encountered, there's music during the silent sequences, but it slams to a halt when the actors start talking. In The Barker, the continuity of the score really helps smooth the transitions, back and forth.

Very good performances. I'd never heard Milton Sills' voice before: it's deep and pleasant, without sounding overly trained. He handles his dialog adeptly, but in the later, more melodramatic scenes, as his character becomes less and less sympathetic, it's more of a challenge. The ladies come off nicely, and so does young Doug Jr. And it was interesting to compare this with the 1933 version Hoopla, based on the same source material. That's more of a Clara Bow vehicle (her swan song), while this is very much a vehicle for Sills.

I too was surprised by the less-than-robust turnout this evening. Lubitsch packed 'em in on Saturday, but The Barker, not so much.
-- Charlie Morrow
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entredeuxguerres

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostTue Mar 15, 2016 9:30 pm

Wm. Charles Morrow wrote:I was at Film Forum last night for So This is Paris. Packed house and a gorgeous 35mm print, accompanied by the estimable Steve Sterner at the keyboard. What’s not to like?


I'll tell you: that one must (for all practical purposes) be a resident of Gotham to see it. (But even then, only rarely, probably once in a lifetime.) I can (or rather, must) accept the terribly depressing fact that so many great pictures have been destroyed or otherwise lost, but this picture has NOT been lost! Merely, inexcusably, unforgivably, sequestered.

I have that miserable copy referred to above, which is as the aroma of a meal to someone starving.
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FrankFay

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostThu Mar 17, 2016 8:15 pm

I'd like to see the surviving shorts with Lubitsch as a comic actor. The only thing I read about them is "How sad he had to play a Jewish stereotype" , but they were popular so I'd like to see if he was funny.
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Rick Lanham

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostThu Mar 17, 2016 9:08 pm

FrankFay wrote:I'd like to see the surviving shorts with Lubitsch as a comic actor. The only thing I read about them is "How sad he had to play a Jewish stereotype" , but they were popular so I'd like to see if he was funny.


There's one on the Criterion blu-ray of To Be or Not To Be. It's from 1916 and called Schuhpalast Pinkus. Pinkus' Shoe Palace. Lubitsch is a young man on the go, who "fails up." He keeps getting fired, but the next stage is always better.

There also seems to be The Merry Jail (1917) on the Trouble in Paradise DVD from Criterion. I don't remember that one.

Rick
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entredeuxguerres

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostThu Mar 17, 2016 9:40 pm

FrankFay wrote:...The only thing I read about them is "How sad he had to play a Jewish stereotype"...


The idiot who said that must be a great Woody Allen fan.
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FrankFay

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostFri Mar 18, 2016 3:20 am

Rick Lanham wrote:There also seems to be The Merry Jail (1917) on the Trouble in Paradise DVD from Criterion. I don't remember that one.

Rick


The Merry Jail is the plot of Der Fledermaus, but without music. It is amusing, but the most interesting thing to me is looking at the sets: the interior of a supposedly grand mansion has baseboards and corners of walls that have been run into repeatedly, and on one door panel there is a shoe mark where it has either been stepped on or kicked.
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostFri Mar 18, 2016 4:09 am

FrankFay wrote:
Rick Lanham wrote:There also seems to be The Merry Jail (1917) on the Trouble in Paradise DVD from Criterion. I don't remember that one.

Rick


The Merry Jail is the plot of Der Fledermaus, but without music. It is amusing, but the most interesting thing to me is looking at the sets: the interior of a supposedly grand mansion has baseboards and corners of walls that have been run into repeatedly, and on one door panel there is a shoe mark where it has either been stepped on or kicked.


It's an interesting film in several respects, notably its sexual frankness, and its depiction of wartime Germany as drunken and corrupt. (And just to clarify, Lubitsch directed, but doesn't appear on screen.) I posted a fairly detailed review in IMDb a while back, if anyone is interested in more details:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0009062/reviews-2
-- Charlie Morrow
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PMBen

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostFri Mar 18, 2016 4:13 am

Meyer from Berlin (1919) has Lubitsch playing a role similar to that of The Shoe Palace Pinkus. The technique seems, however, quite improved.

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHtOUhfTwOg
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Jess McGrath

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostSun Jul 17, 2016 2:56 pm

After being unavailable for so long, seems that SO THIS IS PARIS is suddenly everywhere. It's screening at Cinecon over Labor Day weekend, and also at the Silent Clowns Film Series in NYC on August 13.
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Gagman 66

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostMon Jul 18, 2016 1:15 pm

:? Sure wish we could get a TCM Premiere of THREE WOMEN or SO THIS IS PARIS. To the best of my knowledge they have never shown THE MARRIAGE CIRCLE either. Not unless it was before I first had TCM in May of 1999.
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ChristineURen

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostThu Sep 15, 2016 11:16 am

SO THIS IS PARIS is suddenly everywhere

Just announced today: So This is Paris is screening in San Francisco on December 3, 2016 at 12:15pm...exactly the same time I'm supposed to be attending a family event that I just agreed to go to yesterday.

http://prod3.agileticketing.net/websale ... dium=email" target="_blank" target="_blank
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostThu Sep 15, 2016 12:46 pm

FORBIDDEN PARADISE is on YT in a batch of uncommon silent uploads. Not a very good copy, by my sampling, and no music, but it's there, after a fashion.
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mwalls

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostThu Sep 15, 2016 1:40 pm

So This is Paris is also screening in Raleigh in October. That print gets around.

Matthew
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Brooksie

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostThu Sep 15, 2016 2:52 pm

It's also just been announced that So This Is Paris will be screening as part of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival's winter program on 3 December.
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Re: Unavailable Lubitsch silent films :(

PostSun Jun 04, 2017 9:48 am

Film Forum has launched a new Lubitsch retrospective, including several of his silent features made in the US, and even a few of his German comedies, i.e. the ones he starred in.

So This is Paris was shown this past Friday night. I wasn't able to go, but am looking forward to my first-ever viewing of Three Women over the Fourth of July weekend.
-- Charlie Morrow
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