Presaging such playful sex comedies as Ernst Lubitsch’s Trouble in Paradise and Design for Living, The Doll follows the misadventures of an effete young man who must wed in order to inherit a fortune. He opts to purchase a remarkably lifelike doll and marry it instead, not realizing that the doll is actually the puppet-maker’s flesh-and-blood daughter, in disguise. In I Don’t Want to Be a Man (1918), 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 has its share of complications. What ensues is a gender-bending comedy that was decades ahead of its time. Both films star Ossi Oswalda, a gifted comedic actress who headlined several other silent films for Lubitsch, notably The Oyster Princess. But the real star is the director and his unmatched gift for sexual innuendo and deliciously subversive comedy.
• Audio commentary for both films by Joseph McBride, author of the critical study How Did Lubitsch Do It?