The oyster princess

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Original title The oyster princess
Country of production Germany
original language German
Publishing year 1919
length 60 minutes
Age rating FSK 0
Director Ernst Lubitsch
script Hanns Kräly ,
Ernst Lubitsch
production Paul Davidson ;
Projektions-AG "Union"
for Universum-Film AG
music Aljoscha Zimmermann (Version 2005/2006)
camera Theodor Sparkuhl

The Oyster Princess is a German silent film by Ernst Lubitsch from 1919.


1st act

When Ossi, the daughter of the American oyster king Mister Quaker, learns from the newspaper that the daughter of the shoe polish king Mister Blakpott has married a count , she rage destroys the interior of her room. Only when her father promises to buy her a prince does the fried fish calm down. Matchmaker Seligsohn receives Quaker's letter with the request to find a suitable match for his daughter and decides to propose Prince Nucki to her: he is poor, but beautiful. After Nucki, who lives together with his friend Josef under the poorest conditions, has heard Seligsohn's suggestion, he sends Josef in front. He should see who the bride is and how she lives.

Meanwhile, Ossi pouts because no husband has turned up after an hour and a half and threatens to devastate the entire Quaker estate.

2nd act

Josef appears at Quaker's and out of necessity gives the servant a visiting card from Prince Nucki. He is now taken for the prince. While Mister Quaker doesn't care about his daughter's marriage views that he goes to sleep when Josef arrives, Ossi makes himself beautiful for the supposed prince. She takes a long bath, lets herself be massaged and dressed. Meanwhile, Josef is very bored.

When Ossi finally appears, she is not very enthusiastic about Josef's appearance, but overlooks it because he is a prince. They immediately drive to the wedding in a horse-drawn carriage, where Josef is not even asked for his consent to the marriage and is married to Ossi as "Prince Nucki". On the way back, Josef Ossis already felt the emancipated nature: if he was allowed to sit next to her on the way there, he now has to take a seat in the back seat alone. When they arrive at Quaker's palace, the servants are very amused when they are introduced to Ossi's new husband.

3rd act

The wedding celebration is “modest” and only takes place “in the closest family circle”: Several dozen couples eat at the banquet table and then dance the foxtrot , only Ossi has to make do with a servant. Josef is so overwhelmed by the abundance of food and drink that he gets drunk without restraint. The first wedding night turns out differently than expected: Ossi assigns her new husband his own bedroom and Mister Quaker is disappointed when he only sees Ossi with her teddy bear in his arms through the keyhole.

4th act

Meanwhile, Prince Nucki has been strolling with his friends and is picked up drunk by a horse-drawn carriage that morning. Which brings him to the estate of the Quakers, where just the "club of billionaire daughters to combat drunkenness " keeps a celebration breakfast, looking for its members by men she can heal. When Prince Nucki stumbles into the hall full of drunkenness, the women rage around him, because everyone would like to heal him. There is an organized boxing match between all women, which Ossi wins in the end.

She kisses the drunken Prince Nucki and has him brought to her bedroom for treatment, as Josef is sleeping in his bedroom. Ossi and Prince Nucki fell in love spontaneously and are both unhappy because Ossi is already married. Only Josef brings the redeeming news: Ossi and Prince Nucki are married, since Josef was married as Prince Nucki. The modest wedding dinner is followed by the wedding night and Mister Quaker is satisfied with what he sees through the keyhole.


The shooting took place in the Ufa-Atelier Berlin-Tempelhof. The production costs amounted to 250,000 marks. The oyster princess was banned by the censors in June 1919. The premiere of the film took place in May 1919 in the UT Kurfürstendamm in Berlin.

In 2006, Die Ausernprinzessin was released on DVD as one of five silent films by Lubitsch in the Ernst Lubitsch Collection . The digitally restored version of the film was underlaid with a composition by Aljoscha Zimmermann .


The contemporary criticism said that the oyster princess was “elegant and shown in a presentation like never before in a German comedy. [...] The technique of cutting the pictures, the close-ups and the hit titles that really emerged from the situation are not imitated by us. "Although Lubitsch's Die Firma Married and Meyer from Berlin are still " our best light plays. The oyster princess is our largest and most elegant ”.

The "lovely" game by Ossi Oswaldas was highlighted : "The curly- haired Ossi raged as a vase-pottering dollar miserable, as a specialist in drug addiction therapy, as a boxer and loving bride, and Harry Liedtke and Julius Falkenstein assisted her appropriately in all roles."

The lexicon of the international film rated The Oyster Princess as "the purest comic strip" - a millionaire who doesn't even have to hold a cigarette and a princess who wants to marry a prince just to outdo the daughter of the shoe polish king . According to Lubitsch, his 'first comedy with a definite style', the 'step from comedy to satire '. Full of grotesque comedy and subtle gags. For the first time, Lubitsch shows what he's made of. "

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c B. E. Lüthge: The oyster princess. In: Film-Kurier. Vol. 15, No. 15, June 22, 1919, ZDB -ID 575776-9 .
  2. Hb .: The Oyster Princess. In: Lichtbild-Bühne. No. 25, June 21, 1919, ZDB -ID 536617-3 .
  3. Klaus Brühne (Ed.): Lexicon of International Films . Volume 1: A - C (= Rororo 6322 rororo manual ). Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1990, ISBN 3-499-16322-5 , p. 242.