Bluebeard's Eighth Wife

Screening on Film
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch.
With Claudette Colbert, Gary Cooper, Edward Everett Horton.
US, 1938, 35mm, black & white, 80 min.
Print source: Universal

Lubitsch’s last film for Paramount came on the heels of the failure of Angel and the realization, by both filmmaker and studio, that the wilder screwball comedy was supplanting the sophisticated and subtle “Lubitsch touch.” Lubitsch turned from stalwart screenwriter Samson Raphaelson to the emerging team of Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett for a script about a pair of oddball millionaires who “meet cute” and eventually realize they’ve fallen for each other. By the standards of all but Lubitsch’s own previous sublime achievements and the very best screwball comedies, Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife is a fine and funny film, but its failure to find an audience forced Lubitsch to retool his approach, preparing the way for the innovative comedic melodramas of his final years.

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