The Marriage Circle

Live Musical Accompaniment by Martin Marks
Screening on Film
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch.
With Marie Prevost, Monte Blue, Adolphe Menjou.
US, 1924, 35mm, black & white, silent, 92 min.
Print source: HFA

One of Lubitsch’s classic sex comedies, The Marriage Circle is set in Vienna in the early days of the last century, a bygone era that critic Herman G. Weinberg evocatively described as “a vanished world of roses, kisses and embraces, of whispers and sighs, of a woman’s shadowed arm encased in georgette beckoning across a moonlit garden.” The story revolves around Mizzi, the promiscuous wife of a professor, who sets her flirtatious sights on her best friend’s husband, a handsome physician. The ensuing romantic roundelay reveals a latent attraction of the doctor’s medical partner for his wife as well as the growing suspicion of the beleaguered spouses that something is not well with their marriages. The film is filled with the quaint details Weinberg describes as well as Lubitsch’s shrewd insights into human nature.

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