Madame Du Barry | Chicago Reader

Madame Du Barry

One of the German-made historical pageants that eventually earned Ernst Lubitsch his ticket to Hollywood, where he promptly switched his specialty from crowd scenes to character detail. Pola Negri is the French courtesan, working her way to power in the court of Louis XV (Emil Jannings), and from there to the guillotine. The qualities we associate with Lubitsch aren't much in evidence (though they were very much present in the string of boulevard comedies he was making at the same time), but the film is a spectacular example of the high quality of production the German cinema achieved in the postwar years. The American release title was Passion; Harry Liedtke costars (1919).

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