The Wildcat is the 1921 German film directed by Ernst Lubitsch. Lt. Alexis is sent to a border fortress as punishment. He is robbed by a group of bandits, whose leader, Rischka, falls in love with him. However, the commander’s daughter, Lilli, also falls in love with him. Despite his failure to stop the bandits, Alexis wins her and in marriage. He also ends up falling in love with Rischka too, but has to arrest her. Claudis, her father, decides to marry her off to one of his men. Can Rischka and Alexis find happiness together?
While not the most original film, Lubitsch is a good director, so he is able to make the satire entertaining. The most amusing part of the movie is the implication that Lt. Alexis is being shipped out because he is such a gigolo. In fact, all of his girlfriends and children he fathered come to wish him a happy journey. The film is divided into four acts, although it’s really not necessary. The acts one though four intertitles could have been cut and it wouldn’t affect the flow of the movie. While it does poke some fun at the German military, it more focuses on the romantic triangle between Alexi, Lilli, and Rischka. It’s a little unusual in that the movie lets us feel sorry for Rischka’s husband, as although he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, he is genuinely heartbroken by the idea that his new wife would abandon him for someone else. Although the tears are exaggerated for comedic effect, it is a relief when Rischka returns and comforts him. A few viewers may be cynical about Alexis’ marriage, since it might not stop him from skirt chasing. Honolulu film fans should at least rent it.
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