Sunday, May 29, 2016

Silent Sundays: The Oyster Princess (1919)


“An hour-and-a-half have passed and I still don’t have a husband.”
            What is it about women and wanting to desperately get married? Not all women are like that I know, I know, because I am definitely not one of those women. I would be perfectly fine with being a spinster living by myself for the rest of my life (such a happy cheerful person I am. Be my friend!). Maybe because I would not mind living out my days as a lonely old spinster I do not understand why some women are desperate to get married. Honestly planning a wedding would be my worst nightmare ever while someone women have been dreaming about their big day literally their whole lives.
            While I do not understand the appeal of desperately wanting to be married to do understand that decades and decades ago, let’s say in the early 1900s women were desperate (or needed to because of evil society) to get married because of possibly money and possibly for some sort of stability. Of course love could be involved in their desperation. And, if any silent films or films from the 1920s-1950s are to be believed, men were sometimes just as desperate to marry the girl of their dreams. Most of the films that have been made where marriage is the concern involves a woman. The silent film The Oyster Princess has that kind of plot but with a very funny and very silly twist.
            Ossi Quaker is a spoiled rich girl. Her father is known as the Oyster King. He has literally hundreds of servants under his employ at his beck and call. One day while Quaker is dictating a letter a servant comes into the room proclaiming that Ossi is having a fit throwing newspapers all over her room in rage. Quaker finds out that his daughter is upset because another rich girl she knows has married a count. To combat this issue Ossi goes to a matchmaker to try to get a husband. The matchmaker decides to give Ossi to Prince Nucki. Nucki is in heavy amount of debt and does not really want to get married.
            The matchmaker goes to Nucki’s house to tell him about the match. Nucki sends his friend Josef to take a look at Ossi. Ossi in the meantime has been going crazy. She complains to her father that it has been a half hour and she is still waiting for her husband to come. She goes into a fit again with throwing things. Josef eventually shows up. The butlers and servants in the house bow to him. One of the servants asks for his card and since the jacket belongs to Nucki Josef gives the servant Nucki’s card. Ossi is beyond excited when she sees the card says Prince Nucki on it. She is not impressed when she sees Josef, she thinks he looks stupid but in her complete and utter desperation to get married she rushes Josef off to get married in a hurry. Quaker gives his daughter a “small” wedding party with a few close family and friends. Their house is totally filled with people.
Image result for the oyster princess 1919
Image result for the oyster princess 1919
            Nucki has gone out on quite a bender. He is drunk and brought to a place to sober up. Ossi happens to be there taking care of some other drunks with a group of her friends who are against drunks. All the women are immediately taken with Nucki. Ossi winds up the lucky girl and she and Nucki fall in love. They are soon both upset that they cannot marry each other since she has married Josef. Josef comes through though. He tells them both that he put Nucki’s name down on the registration.
Image result for the oyster princess 1919
Image result for the oyster princess 1919

            The Oyster Princess was really funny. I would love to see this on a big screen somewhere to hear what parts people laugh at. The film was directed by Ernst Lubitsch who would become known for some of the greatest comedy films in the 1930s and 1940s. His direction with the story was perfect. I know I went on a rant with how I do not like stories that have to deal with women and even men desperately wanting to get married but The Oyster Princess was actually enjoyable because it was so silly and so outrageous. I wish films with this type of story were made today. If you like Ernst Lubitsch and like silent films I definitely suggest watching The Oyster Princess. It is currently available to view in full on YouTube. 
Image result for the oyster princess 1919