HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sputnik
Seducao da Carne
Yes, God, Yes
Five Graves to Cairo
You've Been Trumped Too
Woman in Black, The
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Man Who Laughs, The
Watch List
Giraffe
Kat and the Band
Echo
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
   
 
Newest Articles
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
   
 
  That Lady in Ermine Oh what she'll do to that wild Hungarian
Year: 1948
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Betty Grable, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Cesar Romero, Walter Abel, Reginald Gardiner, Harry Davenport, Virginia Campbell, Whit Bissell
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Romance, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: In 1861, amidst the Italian principality of Bergamo, Countess Angelina (Betty Grable) has only just married Count Mario (Cesar Romero) when their kingdom is invaded by Hungarian hussars led by grim-faced, snarling Colonel Ladislas Karolyi Teglas (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.). While Mario is forced to flee and reluctantly leave his bride behind, the Colonel grows enamoured with a portrait of Angelina’s ancestor, Countess Francesca (Grable again), her exact double. Known as “The Lady in Ermine” by locals, on account of the fur coat she wears in the portrait which the Colonel notes leaves her with conspicuously bare feet. Three hundred years ago, Francesca’s feminine wiles repelled another invasion force in identical circumstances. At night her ghost emerges from the portrait to haunt the Colonel’s dreams, while Angelina finds herself falling for the enemy.

One imagines Betty Grable was expecting something special when she signed up to work with Ernst Lubitsch, master of the sophisticated farce whose filmography included such polished gems as Trouble in Paradise (1932), Ninotchka (1939) and Heaven Can Wait (1943) to name but a few. Instead, That Lady in Ermine emerged the strangest and for the most part, misconceived of all the great man’s works. It was also his last as Lubitsch died of a heart attack after just eight days of shooting. Otto Preminger stepped up to complete the film, which must have been fun for the cast given his reputation as a ranting tyrant, although he gallantly insisted Lubitsch receive sole directorial credit in recognition of a departed master.

Based on the operetta “Die Frau im Hemelin” by Rudolph Schanzer and Ernst Welisch, That Lady in Ermine makes an ambitious attempt at combining the pageantry and romance of the costume drama with musical comedy featuring subversive wit and vaguely anti-war satire. While as meticulously crafted as anything else in Lubitsch’s considerable filmography, the mix never quite catches fire. Exhibiting the director’s usual sophisticated handling of sexual themes, the plot hinges on a typical Lubitsch conceit that feminine sensuality can quell even the most warlike temperament, implying that Francesca (who sings the notably bizarre “Ooh, What I’ll Do” the moment she lays eyes on Colonel Ladislas) repelled the invasion by sleeping with the enemy, hence those bare feet.

It is Beauty and the Beast fable at heart as love does indeed mellow into a much nicer person, with the oft-underrated Douglas Fairbanks Jr. giving a nicely judged performance. However, the concept stalls midway as the film lurches into straight romantic drama. The sexual politics prove more problematic than in past Lubitsch farces and the feel-good fadeout rings false. Grable looks ravishing in Technicolor as usual and certainly rose to the challenge of etching two distinctive personalities with gusto, yet remains irrefutably miscast. Aside from some amusing gags (notably Mario inflitrating the castle as an outrageously accented gypsy) and a certain magical frisson as the ancestral portraits come to life, the fantasy aspect seems heavy-handed and unecessary. There is however, one memorably strange sequence wherein Grable, clad in an amazingly voluminous dress, flies with Fairbanks in her arms right through the roof!

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1901 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: