Review: The Lubitsch touch comes to Westwood

Film Critic

In Hollywood’s golden age, no one made urbane, sophisticated romantic comedies like Ernst Lubitsch. Even fellow directors like Billy Wilder and William Wyler were huge fans. When Lubitsch died in 1947, Wilder lamented, “No more Lubitsch,” to which Wyler responded, “Worse, no more Lubitsch pictures.”

UCLA’s Film & Television Archive is running the series, “How Did Lubitsch Do It? Ernst Lubitsch Revisited,” which includes two of his best films, 1939’s “Ninotchka” and 1940’s “The Shop Around the Corner.”

“Ninotchka” stars Greta Garbo as a Soviet commissar who never laughs confronted by playboy Parisian Melvyn Douglas. “The Shop Around the Corner,” the inspiration for “You’ve Got Mail,” features James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan as one of the most irresistible couples in movie history. To have the films on a double bill is a wonderful treat indeed.


“Ninotchka” and “Shop Around the Corner,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, UCLA Film & Television Archive’s Billy Wilder Theater in the Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 206-8013. $8-$10.