I Don’t Want to Be a Man 1918
Ich möchte kein Mann sein (original title)
Not Rated | 45min | Comedy, Romance | 1 October 1918 (Berlin)
A teenaged tomboy, tired of being bossed around by her strict guardian, impersonates a man so she can have more fun, but discovers that being the opposite sex isn’t as easy as she had hoped.
Short (45mins) early silent movie from Ernst Lubitsch made a few years before he left Germany for Hollywood. Young (19) Ossi Oswalda plays a seemingly wayward young lady who is becoming quite a handful. Indeed, unlike UK and US films of the time we see this young lady drinking, playing cards flirting with older gentlemen and smoking furiously. A new guardian is employed to keep her in check but she finds if she dresses as a boy everyone is fooled and she can go off to the dance and flirt with that very same guardian. He is almost twice her age but the drunken evening is treated as a joke and they even kiss. Now, one he is twice her age and two, on the face of it these are two gentlemen kissing away. Ossi is not pretty in the conventional sense but we do consider that German gents like their ladies on the butch side so maybe this would have worked even more sensationally at the time. Curious, slightly worrying but a good start in my exploration of the early films of Mr Lubitsch.
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Writers: Hanns Kräly, Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Ossi Oswalda, Curt Goetz, Ferry Sikla
Release Date: 1 October 1918 (Berlin)