Friday, October 4, 2013

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum for THE STUDENT PRINCE IN OLD HEIDELBURG

But first, of course, a couple of shorts

UNIVERSAL INTERNATIONAL NEWS VOL. 3 #24 (1921): That's right, we start with a newsreel, just to put us in a 1920s mood. Lots of little news snippets, including the launching of the USS Colorado.

HIS WOODEN WEDDING (1925): Charley Chase is one of my favorite lesser-known silent era comedians. In this one, he's about to get married, but the rejected suitor has a few tricks up his sleeve. He tricks Charley into thinking his bride-to-be has a wooden leg, and Charley calls off the wedding. Wackiness ensues, but I can't help but thinking Charley's kind of a jerk for rejecting her just for that. Also...okay, I know times were different back then, but did you really go so far as to get married without knowing what her legs are made of?

Then of course our standard intermission, and finally the feature film

THE STUDENT PRINCE IN OLD HEIDELBURG (1927): Ernst Lubitsch, the master of the romantic comedy, directs this charming and funny story about an Austrian prince (Ramon Navarro) who lives in a sheltered, highly disciplined life but watches the common folk frolic about and have fun. (A childhood scene--contrasting a group of boys playing with a ball and him playing ball with his three elderly caretakers--sums this up perfectly.) While the commoners (of different demographics each time) muse how it must be great to be a prince, he just wants to have some fun and adventure. And when he goes off to study in Heidelberg, he finally gets a taste of it. Drinking, camaraderie, and especially the beautiful barmaid Kathi (Norma Shearer.) He falls in love, she does too, but the difference in class and status is just too much to overcome. Or rather, his royal duties don't allow him to be with a lowly barmaid. It's good to be a prince (or a king)...sometimes. Or rather, the joys of royalty exist mostly in the heads of the commoners.

For the whole thing, the excellent Dr. Jon Mirsalis provided the music on his Kurzweil electric keyboard. And for the THE STUDENT PRINCE, he provided a brief introduction talking about the "Lubitsch Touch."

Total Running Time (estimated): 130 minutes
My Total Minutes: 338,069

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