Die Puppe

Ernst Lubitsch

Tit. It.: “La Bambola Di Carne”; Scen.: Hanns Kräly, Ernst Lubitsch, Da Motivi Dell’operetta Di A.E. Wilner, Basata Su Racconti Di E.T.A. Hoffmann; F.: Theodor Sparkuhl; Scgf. E Cost.: Kurt Richter; Int.: Ossi Oswalda (Ossi/La Bambola), Hermann Thimig (Lancelot), Victor Janson (Hilarius), Jakob Tiedtke (Priore Del Convento), Gerhard Ritterband (Aiutante Di Hilarius), Marga Köhler (Moglie Di Hilarius), Max Kronert (Barone Di Chanterelle), Josefine Dora (Governante Di Lancelot), Ernst Lubitsch (Se Stesso); Prod.: Projektions-Ag Union; 35mm. L.: 1375 M. D.: 58’ A 21 F/S. Imbibito / Tinted.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Die Puppe is one of the happiest and liveliest of Lubitsch’s films, partly because the whole movie is made on a fairy-story plane. Just as Lubitsch creates Lancelot, his good nurse and frail old uncle, the baron of Chanterelle, who desperately wants his nephew to marry so he can have an heir, in this film Hilarius creates dolls of various sizes and appearances, surrounding himself in his magic laboratory with a court of automatons and robots. The most beautiful of all the dolls is Ossi, the “double” of his flesh and blood daughter. The creation theme that was so important to the expressionist community of painter-poets and poet-musicians is therefore central to the film, and determines its matrioshka structure. Everything is created with tiny expert touches, right before our eyes. […] The motif of the relationship between creator and “creature” is really Hoffmannian: the doll Ossi is the sister of the doll in Der Sandmann (The Sandman, 1817), an anguish-ridden, horror story that did however inspire the irresistibly joyful music of Offenbach. In any case, here the theme is tied to the issue of growth and initiation. In other words, leaving aside the edifying hypotheses of Collodi, exactly how does a puppet grow up? How can a papier-mâché hero get older and even rebel?

Guido Fink, Ernst Lubitsch, Firenze 1977

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