Madame Dubarry (1919)

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Original title Madame Dubarry
Country of production Germany
original language German
Publishing year 1919
length 113 minutes
Director Ernst Lubitsch
script Fred Orbing ,
Hanns Kraly
production Paul Davidson
for projection group "Union"
music Alexander Schirmann (1919),
Carsten-Stephan Graf von Bothmer (2007)
camera Theodor Sparkuhl

Madame Dubarry is a German period film by Ernst Lubitsch from 1919.


The following content is presented in seven files: Poor Jeanne works in Madame Labille's hatmaker's shop. She and the student Armand de Foix are a couple, but Jeanne is not averse when the Spanish ambassador Don Diego pays court to her. There is a duel between Armand and Don Diego , in which Don Diego is killed. Armand is arrested and Jeanne is the mistress of Count Guillaume Dubarry. When Guillaume is on the verge of bankruptcy because of their lavish lifestyle together , he sends his mistress with a petition to the king's minister, Duke of Choiseul, who, however, refuses to pay the requested money. On her way back, however, Jeanne fell to King Louis XV. himself who chooses her as Maitresse .

When Jeanne receives an insulting letter that denigrates her relationship with the king, she demands satisfaction and the king decides to officially introduce her to the court. Before that, however, she needed a title of nobility, which is why she married Guillaume's brother Jean Dubarry. As Countess Dubarry and Maitresse of the King, she is now the most powerful woman in France. Armand, who was released from prison on her instigation and received a post as a soldier of the king, is appointed lieutenant in the castle guard at her behest. As such, he experiences how a group of people protesting against the maitresse is dispersed by force of arms and begins to detest the maitresse, unknown to him. He is all the more appalled when he recognizes his former lover in her. He leaves the castle and turns to his friend Paillet, a shoemaker with a small child and a sick wife. The family has nothing to eat because bread is becoming more and more expensive and taxes are increasing. A protesting crowd forms, of which Armand becomes the leader. They storm the bakery and Armand is arrested by the king's soldiers.

The Duke of Choiseul tells Armand that only Madame Dubarry had plunged him into misery. When Armand says that if he were free he would take revenge on her, Choiseul immediately releases him. A rebel group formed around Schuster Paillet, the spokesman of which was Armand. When he receives a visit from the disguised Dubarry, he swears, however, not to harm her. The rebel group goes to the king, who collapses before their eyes with black pox . In response to a spiteful remark, Madame Dubarry has Paillet arrested. The king dies of his illness and Madame Dubarry is taken over by the new King Louis XVI. expelled from the palace.

Paillet's wife dies and Armand promises her on his deathbed to free her husband. The revolution begins. The insurgents storm the Bastille and free Paillet. A short time later, the king is driven from the castle and Madame Dubarry is betrayed. She is sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Tribunal, chaired by Armand. Armand, who wants to enable her to escape, is shot as a traitor and dies in her arms. A short time later, Madame Dubarry was executed on the scaffold .


Madame Dubarry was shot on the Ufa outdoor area, in front of the backdrop of the New Palace in Potsdam and in the Ufa-Union Atelier in (Berlin-) Tempelhof . In July 1919, censors banned the film from young people. The premiere of the film took place on September 18, 1919 in the Ufa-Palast am Zoo in Berlin ; it was the opening of this important Berlin film theater.


Contemporary critics praised the film:

“Yes, the evening is best characterized as Negri-Lubitsch's evening of honor. Lubitsch, who, as the director of Carmen, was believed to be at the height of his ability, has surpassed himself here and made everything forgotten before this ingenious creation. […] Lubitsch is not one, but “the” genius of film directing and without a doubt the first one we have today. Whether friend or foe, whoever sees Countess Dubarry must admit that "

- Photo stage 1919

The French criticism was initially appalled that French history was filmed by Germans so shortly after the First World War (“The graceful and easy epoch of Louis XV., Awakened again by the gentlemen of sauerkraut with their small round eyes and their heavy bellies! "), But found that" the execution, apart from a few errors, is admirable. "

The lexicon of international films stated that “Lubitsch's audience-effective, but unhesitating approach to the topic […] stood in macabre contrast to the revolutionary unrest in Germany in 1919.” Other critics emphasized that “Lubitsch was in the Mass scenes [...] as masters of the artful and large arrangement [proves]. "


  • Fred Gehler Madame Dubarry . In Günther Dahlke, Günther Karl (Hrsg.): German feature films from the beginnings to 1933. A film guide. Henschel Verlag, 2nd edition, Berlin 1993, p. 34 ff. ISBN 3-89487-009-5

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Hb .: Madame Dubarry . In: Lichtbild-Bühne, No. 38, September 20, 1919.
  2. Jacques Piétrini in: La Cinématographie Française, No. 9/1920, cited above. according to Lichtbild-Bühne, No. 15, April 10, 1920.
  3. Klaus Brühne (Ed.): Lexicon of International Films . Volume 5. Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1990, p. 2367.
  4. ^ Dieter Krusche: Lexicon of the cinema. From silent films to today . Bertelsmann, Gütersloh 1977, p. 86.