Sex, history, and upward mobility: Ernst lubitsch's madame dubarry/passion, 1919

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Abstract

Ernst Lubitsch's (1892-1947) historical costume film Madame Dubarry (Germany, 1919; American release title: Passion) was an overwhelming success, leading ultimately to his departure for Hollywood in 1922. Many leftist critics saw it as a trivialization of the French Revolution. Kracauer wrote that the film "reduces the Revolution to a derivative of private passions" (49). But the film's psycho-sexual dynamics do have a politics: they are very much connected to the politics of class, gender, ethnicity, and race. And, like many of Lubitsch's comedies, this film is about an outsider's drive for upward mobility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-617
Number of pages15
JournalGerman Studies Review
Volume33
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010

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