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Monday, November 9, 2015

Ich Mochte Kein Mann Sein (aka I Don't Want To Be A Man) (1918)

A young girl (Ossi Oswalda) frustrates her Uncle (Ferry Sikla) and governess (Margarete Kupfer) with her tomboyish behavior. She smokes, plays poker and goes joy riding. But when her Uncle is called away on business, her new guardian (Curt Goetz) puts a firm rein on her behavior. She decides to dress as a man and go out in the world. This Ernst Lubitsch comedy is charming and lively. While the heroine's conclusion that it's very hard to be a man (in a man's world?) is debatable, Lubitsch's playing with gender stereotypes is interesting and even daring for its time. Most startling in a scene where she and her male guardian, who thinks she's a boy, make out in the back seat of a car! But even in 1918, the famous Lubitsch "touch" seems firmly in place. There's not much more to it than the one "joke" but Lubitsch keeps it short (the film runs under an hour) so that it doesn't wear out its welcome and repeating itself.

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