Cinema in Context

How To Do

Which films by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Pola Negri, were shown in Groningen?

Research into local film culture has many dimensions. For this question we will make use of both the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and Cinema Context, and we will illustrate how combining these two websites can lead to an answer to your research question.


Step 1

To begin, we need to find out which films were made by Lubitsch and Negri together.

  • Go to IMBb Internet Movie Database.
  • Search for ‘Ernst Lubitsch’. This will bring you to the results page for your search query. Click on the link that leads to Ernst Lubitsch’s personal page.
  • At the bottom of the page you will see the field Find where Ernst Lubitsch is credited alongside another name. Enter ‘Pola Negri’ here and click Go.
  • On the following page, select Pola Negri under Actress and Ernst Lubitsch under Director. Then click on Look up joint ventures.

You will now see the list of films that Lubitsch and Negri made together. We will look up those films in Cinema Context. You can do this by copying each film title individually. You can also copy the identifier of each film (an identifier or ID is the unique number a film has in the IMDb; it is listed in the film’s URL right behind tt). It is however also possible to filter all ID’s from the IMDb-page at once. We will demonstrate the latter method here.

Step 2

  • Launch MS Word. Click on Tools > Macro > Security and select Medium.Click OK in the tab Security. Close Word.
  • Open the Downloads page in a new window and download the Word document IMDBids. Close the Downloads page.
  • Open the Word document IMDBids. You might at first receive a warning that the macro-function is disabled. Allow for this macro to be used.
  • Copy the list of films that Lubitsch and Negri made together from the IMDb page and paste them into the Word document. Important note: copy only the part of the web page that includes the relevant film titles.
  • In Word, click on Tools > Macro > Macros.
  • Click on CreateIdsfromUrls and then click Run.

You will now see a list of IMDb ID-numbers. We will enter these into Cinema Context.

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Step 3

  • Open Cinema Context in a new window
  • Click on Films at the top of the page.
  • Enter the retrieved ID’s from the IMDb in the search fields. Select IMDB ID from the pull-down menu behind every field. Select Or from the pull-down menu in front of each search field.
  • If necessary, click on Add new search field in order to access additional search fields. The maximum number of search fields is ten.
  • Enter ‘Groningen’ in the last search field. Select City of screening from the pull-down menu to the right of the field. From the pull-down menu on the left, select And.
  • Select both under ‘Limit search query to’
  • Click on search movies

You will now see which films by Lubitsch and Negri were screened in Groningen.

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  • Are all films by Lubitsch and Negri included in the IMDb collection? If not, the missing films will not be part of the search results.
  • Not all film programmes are included in Cinema Context. It is hard to find any data about a number of cinemas, for instance because they advertised rarely. This is especially pertinent as one goes back further in history. In what way will this influence your research result?