TO BE OR NOT TO BE

Ernst Lubitsch, USA, 1942, Shout! Factory, Arthouse

“Perhaps the boldest satire of its day, Ernst Lubitsch's TO BE OR NOT TO BE set the stage for such audacious comedies as DR. STRANGELOVE, THE PRODUCERS and INGLORIOUS BASTERDS.

Even today it seems shocking that, in 1942, Lubitsch satirized occupied Warsaw with a spirited cast including Jack Benny and Carole Lombard, foiling Nazis who crack jokes about concentration camps and careening through harrowing complications like an air raid, a fatal shooting and buffoonery with a corpse. It's all served up with that celebrated "Lubitsch touch”, which employed elegance and wit to create civilized entertainments even in the darkest of settings.

It certainly wasn’t a stretch for comedian Benny to play a ham actor, but under the guidance of Lubitsch, Benny becomes a poignant figure (generally) willing to sacrifice himself for the Polish underground in their fight against the occupying German army.” — Roger Fristoe, TCM

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Details

  • 99 min.
  • B/W
  • 1.37:1

Formats

  • DCP

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