Silent Movie Rule #14: It’s probably better to marry a live woman


The Doll‘s premise is nuts. A man-child needs to marry in order to gain his inheritance. Since romancing a real live woman is just too much bother, he goes to a famous dollmaker and purchases a lifelike automaton to pose as his bride. The only problem? The doll was broken and the inventor’s daughter has taken her place. Our hapless hero soon figures this out when he tries to use her as a coat-rack. Shoulda married a real girl…

German comedienne Ossi Oswalda is an utter charmer as the saucy doll. If you have never seen Miss Oswalda in action, I strongly encourage you to seek out her work.

(Read my full-length review here.)

Availability: Kino has released a beautiful print on DVD and via streaming. Enjoy!

Fun Size Review: The Doll (1919)


Ernst Lubitsch wows again with a surreal bit of comedy concerning a determined bachelor who buys a doll to pose as his wife, thus avoiding actually having to marry. The only problem is that the doll is a live woman, comedy star Ossi Oswalda. So we have a woman posing as a doll posing as a woman. Raucous, joyous and more than a little strange, this early Lubitsch is an unparalleled delight.

[toggler title=”How does it end? (click for a spoiler)” ]Our bachelor finally figures out that Ossi is real and falls in love with her, which is very convenient as they are already married.[/toggler]

If it were a dessert it would be:


Robot and Sprocket Cookies. Who says machines can’t be cute and tasty?

Read my full-length review here.


What do you say to Mommy? Animated GIF


The unexpected benefits of posing as an automaton: You can be as snotty as you like and no one can do anything about it. I mean, what are they going to do? Punish a machine?

Ossi Oswalda is truly delightful in Ernst Lubitsch’s 1919 comedy The Doll. I highly recommend it, especially if you have only seen the darker German offerings of this period. Lubitsch’s saucy offerings will surely delight.


Released both digitally and on DVD by Kino-Lorber and available for purchase in the U.S.

Don’t yell at inanimate objects because, in addition to looking crazy, you may be shocked to discover that “inanimate” can yell back! Animated GIF

doll-ernst-lubitsch-ossi-oswalda-silent-movie-animated-dont-yell-at-ossiAnother charmer from The Doll. Hermann Thimig thinks that Ossi Oswalda is just a doll and decides to take his frustrations out on her. Bad idea. You do not yell at Ossi. Ever. Poor Hermann does not stand a chance against this petite ball of fire.

I think we can safely say that she won the argument.


Released both digitally and on DVD by Kino-Lorber and available for purchase in the U.S.

The Doll (1919) A Silent Film Review

Ernst Lubitsch directs this fractured fairy tale concerning a coddled young man who wants to avoid marriage at all costs– and he is willing to purchase an elaborate mechanical doll to pose as his wife. Petite charmer Ossi Oswalda co-stars as both the doll and the live girl it was modeled after. When the doll is accidentally broken, Ossi must take its place at the wedding. I can’t possibly imagine anything going wrong with this scenario.
Continue reading “The Doll (1919) A Silent Film Review”

“Always dust her well” Animated GIF


It’s early Lubitsch but his touch is there, right down to the clever intertitles. After all, this is what every father says when he is sending off his only child, right?

Background: In The Doll, dollmaker Hilarius has just inadvertently sold his daughter to a customer. She was taking the place of a broken model for a demonstration but Hermann Thimig was so pleased that he bought the mechanical woman on the spot. Obviously, chaos ensues.


Released both digitally and on DVD by Kino-Lorber and available for purchase in the U.S.

The Oyster Princess (1919) A Silent Film Review

Ossi’s father is the Oyster King of America and she has decided that she deserves nothing less than a  European prince. Nucki is the penniless prince in question but a few cases of mistaken identity later, all plans are in shambles. Hidden amongst the the wacky hijinks is some pointed social commentary courtesy of director Ernst Lubitsch.

Continue reading “The Oyster Princess (1919) A Silent Film Review”