25 June 2010 | FerdinandVonGalitzien
The Capulethofer And The Montekugerl
The Capulethofer and the Montekugerl are two Teutonic families who are enemies because of an old dispute that even the courts couldn't resolve. This feud affects the younger members of the families as well, natürlich! Complications arise when young Romeo ( Herr Gustav von Wangenheim ), Herr Montekugerl's son , comes back home after some years of absence. He falls madly in love with Julia ( Frau Lotte Neumann ) ,Herr Capulethofer's daughter. This makes the enmity between the families even worse and Frau Julia is forced into an engagement with an innocent and clumsy boy. Desperate and seeing no hope that their families will ever understand them, the lovers decide upon a terrible solution: they will end their lives with poison.
Probably those learned longhaired youngsters who have read this Herr Graf's synopsis of this film named "Romeo Und Julia Im Schnee" ( Romeo And Julia In The Snow ), directed by Herr Ernst Lubitsch in the silent year of 1920, will know that it is not an original story by the German director but a free adaptation of the classic Shakespearian play "Romeo And Juliet". Of course, Herr Shakespeare himself was not adverse to borrowing stories from others for his own purposes and Herr Lubitsch was no different, having done adaptations of "Carmen" from Herr Prosper Mérimée's novel , the opera "Don César de Bazán" and Herr Oscar Wilde play "Lady Windermere's Fan" and handling all of them in his own original style, achieving marvellous films full of wit, irony, irreverence and laced with the particular Germanic sense of humor and sarcastic gags.
For example, Her Lubistch introduces to the audience the origins of the enmity among Montekugerls and Capulethofers with a clever prologue wherein the Verona families in Herr Shakespeare original manuscript become genuine Teutonic families who live in a typical snowy German village; A sibylline and wonderful gag in this part of the film finds both families trying to bribe the judge with two similar big sausages. The sarcastic judge resolves the complicated issue by weighing both sausages in the scales of the symbol of justice and deciding in favour of the Capulethofers because their sausage is heavier.
The film continues along the same lines with both families caricatured in an hilarious way. Funny too is the masked ball sequence where Romeo fools both Julia's father as well as her naive fiancée so he can be with his beloved. Then there is the climax where the distraught lovers decide to take their lives and repair to an apothecary to buy the poison (he actually just gives them a mixture of sugar and water). They find they don't have any money but the sardonic apothecary just tells them, "Pay me some other time." "Romeo Und Julia Im Schnee" is another delicious Herr Lubitsch early silent film, remarkable and original ( with Herr Shakespeare's permission ) and a good example of a drama being effectively turned into a comedy thanks to the artistry and genius of the director.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must court his own Teutonic Juliet.