Films by Ernst Lubitsch | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Films by Ernst Lubitsch 

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This week the Film Center launches a retrospective of Ernst Lubitsch's Hollywood pictures with two of his finest: The Love Parade and Trouble in Paradise (many would add Ninotchka, also playing this week, but not me, even though it has Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas). The Love Parade (1929, 110 min.), Lubitsch's first talkie and musical, helped to define continental romance as well as opulent operetta for Depression-era audiences. Racy and innovatively shot, it pairs Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald for the first time, and it's one of their funniest films, with some of the best laughs coming from secondary leads Lillian Roth and Lupino Lane. Trouble in Paradise (1932, 83 min.), about a pair of jewel thieves (Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins) exploiting the owner of a French perfume company (Kay Francis), is one of the wittiest and most glamorous romantic comedies ever made and has as much to say about the Depression as any Busby Berkeley number. Unfortunately the series omits the underrated and atypical The Man I Killed (aka Broken Lullaby), but otherwise all of Lubitsch's essential Hollywood pictures are showing this month; they virtually defined Hollywood entertainment when the term still meant something other than explosions and hard-sell advertising. Both films will be shown in 35-millimeter prints. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, Saturday, January 4, 3:45 (The Love Parade) and 6:00 (Trouble in Paradise); Sunday, January 5, 3:15 (Trouble in Paradise); Tuesday, January 7, 6:15 (Trouble in Paradise); and Wednesday, January 8, 8:15 (The Love Parade); 312-846-2800.

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