The Doll

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Year Released: 1919
Rating: 3.5

In this delightful fantasy (based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann!), a wealthy Baron demands his son (Hermann Thimig) get married, but the son is frightened by women, runs away to a monastery (with food-and-money-mad monks) and decides to marry a mechanical doll instead (!), only to be surprised that the doll is a human girl (due to the doll maker's apprentice's accidentally breaking the actual doll). While I originally thought this was a coded gay allegory (the young man bolts from throngs of women), it turns out he's simply shy and reserved (and wants a woman he can 'control'), and the human girl - impersonating the doll - continuously 'messes' with him (she's a spitfire); the revelation that she's flesh and blood comes as a shock to the young man and the two (I'm assuming) consummate the relationship in, of all places, the monastery. It's a splendid, inventive story - done with a different twist years later by Buster Keaton in Seven Chances - and the apprentice is a great side character: he's a mischievous little git who continually threatens to kill himself by drinking paint.