Ernst Lubitsch Was the Tits
Presented below, for your perusal, is a short excerpt from the book The Brothers Warner by Cass Warner Sperling. The two players are notoriously hot-tempered film executive and Warner Bros. founder Jack Warner and Ye Olde rom-com maestro Ernst Lubitsch (The Shop Around the Corner, Ninotchka), who worked for Warner Bros. for a time during the silent era:
Jack was mesmerized by the German’s prestige and his Prussian directorial manner. But he was not amused by some of Lubitsch’s on-the-set demands, such as the requirement that coffee and cakes, ordered from a special caterer, be served to the cast and crew every afternoon at four. Jack didn’t like the idea of the whole crew idling on the set and canceled the coffee break. Lubitsch countered by sending everyone home and retiring to his room to play his cello. Jack heard of the delay and charged to the studio to confront the director. “What the hell are you doing?” he shouted.
Lubitsch stared haughtily down his nose. “No cakes, no coffee—no scene.”
Defeated, Jack supplied the pastries.
That’s all. I think the passive aggressive cello playing is my favorite. Game, set, cake, Lubitsch.
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