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Ernst Lubitsch

Laughter in Paradise

“Highly recommended” (Library Journal): The only full-length biography of legendary film director Ernst Lubitsch, the director of such Hollywood classics as Trouble in Paradise, Ninotchka, and The Shop Around the Corner.

In this groundbreaking biography of Ernst Lubitsch, undeniably one of the most important and influential film directors and artists of all time, critic and biographer Scott Eyman, author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller John Wayne, examines not just the films Lubitsch created, but explores as well the life of the man, a life full of both great successes and overwhelming insecurities. The result is a fascinating look at a man and an era—Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Born in Berlin and transported to Hollywood in the 1920s with the help of Mary Pickford, Lubitsch brought with him a level of sophistication and subtlety previously unknown to American movie audiences. He was quickly established as a director of unique quality and distinction. He captivated audiences with his unique “touch,” creating a world of fantasy in which men are tall and handsome (unlike Lubitsch himself) and humorously adept at getting women into bed, and where all the women are beautiful and charming and capable of giving as well as receiving love. He revived the flagging career of Marlene Dietrich and, in Ninotchka, created Greta Garbo’s most successful film. When movie buffs speak of “the Lubitsch touch,” they refer to a sense of style and taste, humor and humanity that defined the films of one of Hollywood’s all-time great directors. In the history of the medium, no one has ever quite equaled his unique talent.

Written with the cooperation of an extraordinary ensemble of eyewitnesses, and unprecedented access to the files of Paramount Pictures, this is an enthralling biography as rich and diverse as its subject—sure to please film buffs of all types, especially those who champion Lubitsch as one of the greatest filmmakers ever.

Photograph by Greg Lovett

Scott Eyman was formerly the literary critic at The Palm Beach Post and is the author or coauthor of fifteen books, including the bestseller John Wayne and (with actor Robert Wagner) the bestsellers Pieces of My Heart and You Must Remember This. Among his other books are Hank and Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart; Empire of Dreams: The Epic Life of Cecil B. DeMilleLion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer; and Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford. Eyman also writes book reviews for The Wall Street Journal, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune. He and his wife, Lynn, live in West Palm Beach.

"Written with the kind of intuitiveness that's rooted in knowledge and affection. Eyman's scholarship gives the reader pleasure."

– Pauline Kael

"A resoundingly wonderful, first-ever full-dress biography of the inspired filmmaker . . . Eyman writes with steady brilliance throughout but takes on extra luster when describing the making of Lubitsch's greatest works."

– Hollywood Reporter

"In an entrancing, revealing biography that illuminates the unique chemistry behind 'the Lubitsch touch,' Eyman limns a single-minded director, despised by Hitler, who embodied the classic immigrant experience in Hollywood by giving a European twist to American genres."

– Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A resoundingly wonderful, first-ever full-dress biography of the inspired filmmaker. . . . Eyman writes with steady brilliance throughout.”

– Hollywood Reporter

“I have always revered Lubitsch the artist. Scott Eyman now reveals Lubitsch as a human being, as charming—and as frail—as one of his own characters.”

– Kevin Brownlow, author of The Parade's Gone By...

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