Video Review: 'The Lubitsch Touch: The Love Parade, Monte Carlo, One Hour With You, The Smiling Lieutenant, Trouble In Paradise, Design For Living'
Ingeniously exploiting the dawn of movie sound and the twilight of uncensored old-Hollywood scripting, German emigré Ernst Lubitsch turned boilerplate musical-comedy scenarios into exemplars of style, grace, and naughty innuendo. No wonder he remains Billy Wilder’s favorite director. The six features (and one excerpt, from If I Had a Million) collected here — video debuts all — range from creaky (Monte Carlo, ruined by simpering Brit Jack Buchanan) to perfectly fresh (a daring ménage à trois between Gary Cooper, Miriam Hopkins, and Fredric March informs Design for Living, the ’30s ancestor of Chasing Amy). But never mind the trip-ups: They only make Lubitsch’s lightest steps into a deco-drenched world of burled-wood living rooms and burning libidos look all the more magical. A+