ROSITA (1923)



Cinema Arts Centre - Cinema 2 Tue, Aug 20, 2019 7:30 PM


Anything But Silent with live organ accompaniment by BEN MODEL

Ernst Lubitsch’s ROSITA Starring Mary Pickford

Tuesday, August 20 at 7:30 pm | $11 Members | $16 Public

Rosita vanished from circulation until a nitrate print was discovered in the Russian archives and repatriated by The Museum of Modern Art in the 1960s. This new restoration was executed by The Museum of Modern Art, in cooperation with the Mary Pickford Foundation.

New Digital Restoration! In 1922, the most popular actress in America, Mary Pickford, invited the most acclaimed director in Europe, Ernst Lubitsch, to make his first Hollywood film. The result was Rosita, released in 1923, in which Pickford plays a street singer of old Seville whose satirical barbs at the king of Spain (Holbrook Blinn) arouse, in time honored tradition, first his ire and then his ardor. As the king pursues her, to the amusement and mild consternation of his queen (Irene Rich), Rosita becomes enamored with the dashing but impoverished aristocrat (George Walsh, the younger brother of the director Raoul Walsh) who had rescued her from her initial encounter with the king’s guards. As photographed by Charles Rosher (Sunrise) on expansive sets designed by William Cameron Menzies (Gone with the Wind), Rosita remains, in the words of the Lubitsch biographer Scott Eyman, “among the most physically beautiful of all silent films.” It is also one of the most advanced in terms of substituting the language of cinema for the written word. For Lubitsch, Rosita was the beginning of a new, more intimate and philosophical direction in his work. It’s here that one first strongly feels the emergence of what would come to be known as ‘the Lubitsch touch’ – the concise gesture that summarizes a character, the placement of a prop that eliminates pages of exposition, the creation of mood and drama through lighting, composition and montage. – Dave Kehr (USA, 1923, 90 mins, NR, Silent with English Intertitles | Dir. Ernst Lubitsch)

Ben Model is one of America’s leading silent film accompanists, and has been playing piano and organ for silent films at the New York MoMA since 1984, and the CAC since 2006.