films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


The Shop Around the Corner

1940 / 99m - USA
Comedy, Romance
The Shop Around the Corner poster

A pretty passable Lubitsch romcom. I'm not a big Stewart fan, but I didn't mind him all that much here. The comedy is a little too dependent on the spitfire dialogues and there isn't much beyond the basic romcom clichés, but at least the film is quite short, and the overall vibe is pretty positive.

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Alfred works in Matuschek's shop. His boss appreciates Alfred's work, and he's the only one there who is allowed to give personal input on mister Matuschek's business. But then Klara joins the team and Alfred has a hard time dealing with this confident woman. Things get worse when his boss suspects him from having an affair with his wife.

The chemistry between Sullavan and Stewart is somewhat infectious and the back-and-forths between the two are fun for a while, but there's not much variety here, and it does get old real fast. Other than that, the film is pretty bare bones, with basic cinematography and a forgettable soundtrack. Not too memorable, but certainly not the worst of its kind.

Trouble in Paradise

1932 / 83m - USA
Comedy, Romance
Trouble in Paradise poster

One of Lubitsch' early sound films and one of his most lauded classics. While slightly better than the average screwball comedy, this type of work really isn't doing it for me. I simply fail to see the edgy writing, the witty dialogues and roaring romances. Instead, I see a film that's quite safe and predictable.

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A couple of swindlers go after a wealthy widow, owner of a perfume empire. He becomes her secretary, while she becomes her maid. The plan is working, until he falls madly in love with their prey. The result is a lot of back and forth between characters who do their best to scam their opponents.

Performances are decent and the tone is light, but the plot is pretty bland, the film is never really all that funny and even though it's quite short, Trouble in Paradise so predictable that the pacing still feels a little off. It's not a complete disaster, it's just not all the remarkable or even entertaining.

I Don't Want to Be a Man

Ich Möchte Kein Mann Sein
1918 / 45m - Germany
Comedy, Romance
I Don't Want to Be a Man poster

An early Lubitsch comedy. It's the first silent I've seen of him and I have to say I preferred it over his later films. Increased pacing and reduced runtime make this much easier to digest, even though the comedy is still quite outdated and the plot's a little questionable, depending on how you look at it.

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Ossi grows up in a rich family, but she's somewhat of a free spirit, something society doesn't really accept from girls. That doesn't stop her though, and she decides to dress up as a man in order to go out and enjoy life. But as she'll soon find out, being a man is a lot tougher than she expected it to be.

Performances are pretty energetic and overstated, which works well for this type of comedy. The laughs are extremely basic though and the "men have it tough too" morality only feels current if you're an incel. I Don't Want to Be a Man isn't all that remarkable, but at least it doesn't overstay its welcome.

To Be or Not to Be

1942 / 99m - USA
Comedy, War
To Be or Not to Be poster

Farcical comedy that stands out because it was filmed during WOII and makes fun of Hitler. It sounds very bold an edgy, but the comedy itself is pretty tame and predictable. The first 15 minutes are pretty smooth still, but it gets staler and slower with the minute after that. Wasn't very impressed with this one.


1939 / 110m - USA
Comedy, Romance
Ninotchka poster

A classic romcom where the romance is quite dry and lifeless, whilst the comedy is mostly just a lightness in tone rather than actual jokes and laughs. The start of the film isn't that bad, with a cross Garbo and a rather daft Douglas trying to win her heart, what follows is a lot less interesting.

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The film is set in Paris but doesn't feel the least bit French. I guess that's what you get when you don't cast according to nationality and rely on terrible accents rather than the actual French language. And if it wasn't American enough already, the cheap digs at Russia make sure you won't be able to look past it.

Performances are rather rigid (the laughing scene in the restaurant is borderline uncomfortable), the runtime is way too long for the simple plot and the characters fail to charm. Ninotchka feels like a relic of its time, a film that might have made sense when it was made, but doesn't do so anymore.

One Hour with You

1932 / 78m - USA
Romance, Musical
One Hour with You poster

Romance, comedy, and some musical elements. And yet, the film isn't funny, the romance is icky at best and the musical elements are as dire as I'd feared. The advent of sound moved cinema away from some of its core strengths, in return we got a lot of films that were little more than recorded theater plays.

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Andre Bertier is a Parisian doctor who is married to Colette. They are a very happy couple, but Bertier is a charming man. Many women hope to be treated by the good doctor, but he is faithful and respectful to his wife. Things get a bit trickier when Colette sends her friend Mitzi to visit her husband.

There's a lot of talking, some doubty performances, and a few musical moments. The romance is anything but romantic, the comedy is little more than a lighthearted mood and the rhymes are pretty basic. It's a short film though, so it doesn't go on endlessly, but that's not much of a positive when nothing else stands out.

The Love Parade

1929 / 107m - USA
Romance, Musical
The Love Parade poster

Not the Berlin rave parade, but an early talkie that offers a standard mix of comedy, romance, and musical elements. Lubitsch made a name for himself with these types of films, but this was still early days, and it shows. It's all rather slow and unimpressive, not what you want from a film like this.

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Renard is working in France as a diplomat for the country of Sylvania. When they find out he isn't doing much of anything, he is recalled. Once back in his country, he expects a scolding, but to his surprise, the queen seems to fancy him. As she needs a husband fast, she decides to marry Renard.

The musical bits are bland and uninspired, the comedy is dull and the performances aren't that great. I'm not the biggest fan of these classic musicals in the first place, but usually, there's a lot more skill on display than here. On top of that, the film is also way too long. Not a great film.