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also known as Ich möchte kein Mann sein

I Don't Want to Be a Man1919

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  • 4.1
  • passes the bechdel test
In I DON'T WANT TO BE A MAN, a teenaged tomboy, tired of being bossed around by her strict guardian, impersonates a man so she can have more fun, but discovers that being the opposite sex isn’t as easy as she had hoped. What ensues is a gender-bending comedy that was decades ahead of its time.

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2 members like this review

A wonderful comedy of a young lady surpressed by society exploring her identity by seeing just what it's like to be a man. I don't think it's as LBGT as everyone else does. She's more interested in doing what she likes rather than actually being a man. It's a topic right for the time since suffragism and feminism was on the rise. I did find it interesting that they showed her kissing a man while she was dressed as a man so much. That would've been pure scandal in the states. I wonder if it's because of the time/culture that it was allowed? Were they similar to the Soviets who kissed each other on the mouth? I find the real moral of the film to be that a man thinks he knows what he wants but really needs a woman with a mind of her own!

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (7)

87437.small
top reviewer

A wonderful comedy of a young lady surpressed by society exploring her identity by seeing just what it's like to be a man. I don't think it's as LBGT as everyone else does. She's more interested in doing what she likes rather than actually being a man. It's a topic right for the time since suffragism and feminism was on the rise. I did find it interesting that they showed her kissing a man while she was dressed as a man so much. That would've been pure scandal in the states. I wonder if it's because of the time/culture that it was allowed? Were they similar to the Soviets who kissed each other on the mouth? I find the real moral of the film to be that a man thinks he knows what he wants but really needs a woman with a mind of her own!

2 members like this review

This is probably classified as a short, but it's long enough at 45 minutes to be regarded as a feature film, one of the earliest by Ernst Lubitsch, whose famous touch was already apparent here. The film, a sophisticated comedy, involves an independent, tomboyish young woman who, when her father is away, rebels against her guardian by going out on the town dressed as a man. Her masquerade produces some unforeseen complications. The film, astonishingly modern in its sensibilities, deftly exploits the comic situations and the sexual innuendo, which you may interpret as you wish. Lubitsch, who would direct Pola Negri, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and Jennifer Jones, among other great female stars, has here an equally great star to work with -- the delightful Ossi Oswalda, regarded as the German Mary Pickford. (She would star in other early Lubitsch films such as The Oyster Princess and The Doll.) Highly recommended!

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

Excellent early German gender-bender which should be of contemporary LGBT interest by Ernst Lubitsch, master of comedy of manners. Like "Anders Als Die Andern" also made in Germany in 1919 and "Vikto Und Viktoria" produced in 1933 just before the Nazis took over and began the book burnings, etc., "I Don't Want To Be A Man" was way ahead of its time. Non-LGBT fans of Lubitsch and just plain good film making will enjoy this as well. Accompanied by a delightful score which fits the mood, tempo and action perfectly.

I have not seen many of Ernst Lubitsch films but found this film delightful the whole storyline of the film was well played and I can see some Pickford style in Ossi Oswalda portrayal of Ossi her interaction with the men was very awkward and led to many fun situations and finally the feelings they found for each other after their night out when everything became clear with a laugh a hug and a kiss well played. A good watch for those who like a well played comedy.

The great Ossi Oswalda does some playful gender bending, provoking tantalizing questions about who-knows-what-when during some romantic entanglements.

This is an entertaining look at sexual mores and how they played out a hundred years ago in German culture. Much translates to my side of the pond, but the differences were quite fascinating. Definitely worth watching and passing along to others who enjoy discussions about gender roles and/or silent film which pushes boundaries and buttons.

This is a terrific gem of a film featuring some charming twists of homoerotic and lesboerotic humor as it follows the exploits of young Ossi (a girl who likes to smoke, drink and play poker — and who decides to go out into the world as a man).