My Lady Margarine
Filmfest 2012

German Age Rating

Film Website

A pampered American oyster tycoon decides to find a prince to marry his daughter to, but things don't go quite as planned. Along the way, there are mishaps, misunderstandings and a foxtrot sequence that must be seen to be believed. "THE OYSTER PRINCESS exudes a definite style from virtually every frame; it’s a comic extravagance that casts its tendencies through to the end of Lubitsch’s abbreviated career – the shimmering erotic nuance, the tight and quasi-martial order that keeps high-society effervescence under pressure, the hints and cues that tip revellers off to appear or disappear at the right moment . . . In THE OYSTER PRINCESS, the method is both more blatant and more fleshy: the squeaky wheel is an American potentate’s daughter, played by Ossi Oswalda (a big German star at the time, whom Lubitsch had discovered), who gives vent to her nubile lust as clangorously as possible and leaves no doubt of its destructive power." Richard Brody, www.newyorker.com
Most of the laughs here come from depictions of excess, and the film exploits the lush studio atmosphere of Weimar Germany to a dazzling degree. We're introduced to the wealthy Quaker family through an image of its patriarch, at his desk accompanied by four elaborately attired black man servants: one holds his cigar, another his tea, one wipes his mouth, and the other brushes his hair. Such excess is echoed later in a wedding banquet scene, where each attendee has his or her own personal champagne pourer.
Beneath its constant comic tangents, THE OYSTER PRINCESS is also a movie about transition. Its approach to this topic is especially elegant, encapsulated in the confrontation between broken-down old-world aristocracy and an emerging American corporate elite. One side wants money, the other prestige; together they unite to form a new upper class, a process the film depicts with a great deal of insight.
www.slantmagazine.com

tags: Feature film

Cast: Victor Jansons, Ossi Oswalda, Harry Liedtke, Julius Falkenstein, Max Kronert

Credits

Screenplay: Ernst Lubitsch, Hanns Kräly

Director of Photography: Theodor Sparkuhl

Production Designer: Kurt Richter

Production Company: Projektions-AG Union (PAGU)

Distributor: Transit Film GmbH

Director: Ernst Lubitsch