Thursday, July 7, 2011

To Be or Not To Be (1942)

An oddity. A comedy set during the Nazi invasion of Poland. Ernst Lubitsch's film about a Polish theater troupe got tepid and confused reviews when it came out but now it's a comedy classic. I liked about half of it. For me Carole Lombard's subtle comedy and elegance never meshed with Jack Benny's hamminess. This hamminess was the point but I found it overplayed and not too funny. It's no wonder that Mel Brooks remade this film.

Lombard died in a plane crash before this film was released. It adds a layer of poignancy.

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