Photo of Ernst Lubitsch Ernst Lubitsch

Born Jan. 28, 1892, in Berlin, director Ernst Lubitsch successfully made the transition from German to American cinema and from silents to talkies with films that conveyed the sophisticated wit and keen sense of irony that would become known as the "Lubitsch touch."

Already an acclaimed director when Mary Pickford invited him to Hollywood in 1922, Lubitsch applied his trademark visual wit to a string of American triumphs, starting with silent films such as The Marriage Circle and continuing with early musical comedies, including The Love Parade (starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald). Later comic triumphs include the 1939 Ninotchka (in which Greta Garbo famously laughs), the anti-Nazi To Be or Not to Be (Carole Lombard's last picture) and Heaven Can Wait.

Shortly before his death on Nov. 30, 1947, Lubitsch received an Academy Award for lifetime achievement.

Ernst Lubitsch in The Shop Around the Corner

The Shop Around the Corner

1940 NR

In Ernst Lubitsch's charming, Budapest-set romance -- later remade as the Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks vehicle You've Got Mail -- Klara (Margaret Sullavan) and Alfred (James Stewart) fall in love, even though they've only met before as pen pals and don't even know each other's names. Over Alfred's objections, Klara is hired in the shop where he works. But as they continue their loving correspondence, they embark on a combative working relationship.

  • Ernst Lubitsch in Ninotchka Ninotchka
  • Ernst Lubitsch in To Be or Not to Be To Be or Not to Be
  • Ernst Lubitsch in Design for Living / Peter Ibbetson Design for Living / Peter Ibbetson
  • Ernst Lubitsch in The Love Parade The Love Parade
  • Ernst Lubitsch in Monte Carlo Monte Carlo
  • Ernst Lubitsch in The Smiling Lieutenant The Smiling Lieutenant
  • Ernst Lubitsch in I Met Him in Paris / Bluebeard's 8th Wife I Met Him in Paris / Bluebeard's 8th Wife
  • Ernst Lubitsch in Heaven Can Wait Heaven Can Wait
  • Ernst Lubitsch in The Marriage Circle The Marriage Circle
  • Ernst Lubitsch in One Hour with You One Hour with You
  • Ernst Lubitsch in Trouble in Paradise Trouble in Paradise
  • Ernst Lubitsch in The Doll / Lubitsch in Berlin The Doll / Lubitsch in Berlin
  • Ernst Lubitsch in The Oyster Princess The Oyster Princess
  • Ernst Lubitsch in Anna Boleyn Anna Boleyn
  • Ernst Lubitsch in The Wildcat The Wildcat
  • Ernst Lubitsch in Eternal Love Eternal Love
  • Ernst Lubitsch in Unseen Cinema Unseen Cinema