Young Ossi rebels against her authoritarian aunt and uncle by smoking,
drinking and playing cards. If only she were a man she would be
free to do all the things she enjoys! She gets her opportunity
when her uncle goes away on a business trip. She dresses herself
up as a man and goes off to a ball for an evening of unfettered
masculine debauchery. Ossi soon discovers that there is a
downside to being a man. Women shamelessly throw themselves at
her feet, believing that she really is of the male sex. Then she
runs into Dr Kersten, the man who is supposedly charged with watching
over her in her uncle's absence. Kersten invites Ossi to get
drunk with him and, mistaking her for a pretty young man, starts to
flirt with her. At this point, Ossi begins to realise how lucky
she is not to be a man...
The young Ernst Lubitsch is at his most outrageous in this unbridled
satirical comedy, one of cinema's earliest and most entertaining
cross-dressing farces. Perfectly cast as the scurrilous tomboy is
Ossi Oswalda, the onetime dancer who appeared in several of Lubitsch's
early films, most notably Die
) and Die Puppe
Ossi's popularity and exposure earned her the nickname of the German
Mary Pickford and she is glorious in this slapstick-laden humour fest.
That famous Lubitsch touch, which would become so evident during the
director's prolific Hollywood years, is very much in evidence in this
silent film, along with a distinctive anti-authoritarian streak.
Even today, Ich möchte kein
daringly risqué - not because a woman should
dare to dress and act as a man, but because of its overt homosexual
allusions, which would become virtually taboo a generation later.
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