This was one of five features the director completed for UFA in 1919 although it was filmed in late 1918. It’s hard to imagine the mood in Germany at that time and perhaps this film is part of an escape to fantasy in those dark, defeated days.
|Ernst Lubitsch gets his dolls house in order|
|Gerhard Ritterband and Victor Janson|
On hearing of the potential availability of such an eligible bachelor, the local maidens begin to gather much to Lancelot’s discomfort: he is terrified of the prospects and runs for his life from the 40 women hoping to attract his attention.
|Ich möchte kein Mann sein!|
Lancelot goes off to the house of the bizarrely-coiffured Hilarius (Victor Janson) who is busily creating a new doll in the image of his daughter Ossi (Ossi Oswalda) aided by his outspoken young apprentice (Gerhard Ritterband).
There’s great scene in which Lancelot is escorted into the middle of a large room and then as Hilarius turns a wheel, dozens of designer dolls stride out form their storage shelves to embrace him: he’s as frightened of them as he is of the real thing.
They’re all a bit saucy for him and Hilarius decides that his newest creation would be the purest and goes to fetch the Ossie doll… unfortunately by this stage there has been an accident and the doll is broken. Ossie, naturally, stands in for the doll whilst the apprentice – whose fault it is – fixes things.
|The Baron meets the bride|
The couple go off to the monastery where the money is to be handed over, the model is to be mothballed and Lancelot can rest a lot… but really there’s too much mischief in Ossi for this story to end like this…
|Lancelot and his lady|
|Die Puppe shows Lubitsch’s mastery of his content and also his uncanny ability to throw subversion into the heart of his comedy: the surface pantomime has clear secondary meanings but many of these have deeper and challenging interpretations. Yes the monks are corrupt but why does Lancelot agree to their weird plan when they will gain more than him? The Lord moves in mysterious ways but not as mysterious as organised authority perhaps… And love, true love, comes in the most unexpected circumstances…|
|Hilarius has a hair-raising experience (that's Lubitsch's pun not mine!)|
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