Scen.: Ernst Lubitsch, Hanns Kräly. F.: Alfred Hansen. Scgf.: Kurt Richter. Int.: Ferry Sikla (Rentier Klingelmann), Margarete Kupfer (Rosa), Ernst Lubitsch (Sally), Trude Hesterberg (Bella Spaketti). Prod.: Paul Davidson per Projektions-AG “Union” (PAGU). DCP. D.: 19’. Col.
The German Empire was about to collapse when Der Fall Rosentopf was shot. Watching the rediscovered fragment of this long-lost film, one thing immediately comes to mind: the loss of the Great War and the associated German trauma never seem to have existed, so easygoing and laid-back is this crime comedy. Ernst Lubitsch once again assumes the role of the jewish berlinese named Sally, whom he has already played in Schuhpalast Pinkus (Shoe Palace Pinkus, 1916) and Meyer aus Berlin (Meyer in Berlin, 1918). This time, Sally is the assistant to detective Ceeps. Sally’s mission is to crack the Rosentopf case. Lubitsch embodies his part with a highly contagious joy for acting. Watching Lubitsch one really wants the rest of the film to be found one day. The intertitles are enriched with a wide array of overtones and give a foretaste of Lubitsch’s readily identifiable style that later will become known as ‘The Lubitsch Touch’. In 1987 the nitrate print of the fragment of Der Fall Rosentopf, with scenes from the first and second acts, was given to the former State Film Archive of the GDR (SFA) by a private collector and was later acquired by the Bundesarchiv Filmarchiv. Because the lead titles were missing, the film was not identified until many years later.