The Wildcat

The Wildcat ★★★★

Every now and again you come across a film where everyone is clearly having so much fun it is infectious rather than self indulgent. Lubitsch and co seem to have some sort of anti-military theme in mind, presumably resonant in 1921 Germany with all the extras looking particularly motley and unkempt but presumably mainly all combat veterans. As most of the reviews point out they all come across as more than a little unhinged, a feel that is helped by the amazing costumes, alpine location shooting, fairy tale sets and Lubitsch framing the image with a succession of cardboard cut out frames to focus your attention.

It's the story of two irresistible people, womanising Lieutenant Alexis, followed by crowds of smitten women and illegitimate children and Bandit Princess Rishka. Everyone who meets them falls for each of them and it's inevitable that they will meet and in the process break the hearts of every single other person around. Until one of them is prepared to sacrifice their happiness for that of other people.

Except neither of them is particularly irresistable in a conventional sense, Pola Negri's Rishka is a force of nature, sexual and untamed and you can kind of see it with her but Alexis is just some guy and the effect they have on people points more to just what an unhinged fairytale world we have stumbled into than anything about the actors.

Everyone involved just wants to eat, get drunk and lust over either alexis or rishka and Lubitsch paints such a seductive insane picture that it all makes sense,

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