Joseph McBride analyzes Ernst Lubitsch's films in rich detail in the first in-depth critical study to consider the full scope of his work in both his native and adopted lands. McBride explains the 'Lubitsch Touch,' shows how the director challenged American attitudes toward romance and sex, and offers revealing insights into his working methods.
McBride, one of our foremost film historians, the author of solid, well-informed books on Welles, Ford, Frank Capra, and Steven Spielberg, has taken up the cudgels for his favorite master of sophisticated comedy ... [An] excellent, authoritative book—which offers all the necessary points to be made about Lubitsch, is chockful of cultivated insights and astute quotes, and is even forthright about his subject’s clinkers—with a lament.
Joseph McBride has written a love letter to a filmmaker—at nearly 500 pages, an extended love letter indeed, but one fueled by years of devotion ... Mr. McBride’s detailed appreciations could serve, ideally, as a viewer’s companion to the many layers of Lubitsch’s art.
Since Lubitsch’s day, McBride observes a consistent decline in sophisticated comedy, which has been replaced by shock humor and profanity. The author fears that 'the trends that have dumbed down our society' explain, in part, why interest in historic films has waned.However, McBride remains optimistic. Access to films new and old is on the rise, which means that more people may discover hidden gems, sparking renewed interest in Lubitsch and other Golden Age filmmakers. McBride’s study serves as both a biography and a cultural history of Europe’s influence on Hollywood that will be a great companion for those interested in underexplored comedies in film history.