Professor McBride's Tome on Filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch Sparkles 'with a Devoted Fan's Carefully Discerning Eye'

Friday, July 27, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- Have we lost the ability to appreciate the style that Lubitsch honed for years? Joseph McBride doesn’t think so. It’s his mission to bring Lubitsch back into the sparkling limelight. And the seasoned film historian and professor at San Francisco State University does so with How Did Lubitsch Do It? a mammoth new piece of loving scholarship.

McBride takes us through Lubitsch’s working life — from Weimar Germany to Hollywood — and shows us how he matured with every step in his career: the slumming-around in bit Shakespearean roles in Max Reinhardt’s theater troupe, the lavish German spectacles, the zany comedies, the rejuvenation of Hollywood’s silent film industry. ...

McBride shows how Lubitsch was more than the man, more than the Touch. He was a philosophy, a way of being in the world, a model of artifice without malice, an island of sophisticated grace in a world ravaged by depression, censorship and the horrors of a second world war. McBride does much-needed work in showing how Lubitsch was one of the consummate artists America was ever lucky enough to claim as her own.