MASS LIVE (SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS) -- Lubitsch’s work was admired by his peers, including Billy Wilder, who had a sign over his office door, which read ‘“How would Lubitsch do it?”
Noted film historian Joseph McBride has borrowed that phrase for his 20th book, How Did Lubitsch Do It?, a critical study now available from Columbia University Press. A labor of love, McBride has researched and worked on the book for the past nine years.
McBride, a professor in the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University, fielded a few questions about Lubitsch and his cinematic legacy.
“We can only hope that audiences who value wit and sophistication and adult treatment of sexuality and social attitudes will demand more Lubitschean comedies in the future,” McBride says. “Today the market for character-driven comedy and drama is mostly on cable TV or streaming video, while the theatrical film market in the U.S. is largely aimed at the adolescent male market. The women in Lubitsch’s films are always mature, smart and powerful figures, but films today are lagging behind our times and, indeed, his times.”