Ich möchte kein Mann sein (1918)

aka: I Don't Want to Be a Man


Ich möchte kein Mann sein photo
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...
© filmsdefrance.com 2012

Film Review

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 Austernprinzessin (The Oyster Princess) and Die Puppe (The Doll) (1919). 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 Mann appears 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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The director Ernst Lubitsch also worked with the actor Victor Janson on the films Die Austernprinzessin (1919), Die Puppe (1919) and Die Bergkatze (1921).

Film Credits

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