That Lady in Ermine (1948)

THAT LADY IN ERMINE (1948)
Article 2328 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-10-2007
Posting Date: 12-27-2007
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch and Otto Preminger
Featuring Betty Grable, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Cesar Romero

When a castle in Italy is taken by an invading force of Hungarians, the ancestor of the current countess emerges from her painting with a plot to drive the Hungarians away.

I’ve only had the opportunity to see one other of Ernst Lubitsch’s oeuvre for this series; the 1918 silent movie THE EYES OF THE MUMMY . That one was hardly representative of a man who specialized in comedies noted for their light touch (the “Lubitsch touch” of legend); this one is more in line with what you would expect from him. There’s no doubt that there is a light comic touch here; the early scenes are incredibly charming and quite amusing. Yet, as the movie goes on, the charm starts to get stale and the humor begins to fade; I found the last twenty minutes to be quite dull. Still, this may not be Lubitsch’s fault; this was his last film, and he died before it was completed, so Otto Preminger stepped in and directed for the last ten days, and it’s quite possible that it may be his scenes that disappoint; though he could be quite an effective director himself, there’s really no legendary “Preminger touch”. So this one may not really be representative of his oeuvre, either. Out of curiosity, I went to IMDB and did a search on Ernst Lubitsch’s movies sorted by ratings, and this one was, sadly, second from the bottom. The only movie that rated lower? THE EYES OF THE MUMMY . I’d have to say that his high points weren’t genre movies.

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for Whit Bissell as another fugitive from a painting.

 

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