To Be Or Not To Be (1942)

ERNST LUBITSCH

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.5

USA, 1942.  Romaine Film Corporation.  Original Story by , Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Podcast: My Criterions.  Academy Awards 1942.  

Fantastic war comedy, most notable for being the very last film that brilliant comedienne Carole Lombard completed before her tragic death in an airplane crash. She and  play famous Czech actors living in occupied Budapest who use their theatre troupe and its myriad of talents to thwart the Nazi plan to uncover the underground movement in the city and destroy it for good. Their plans are constantly being messed up, however, by Benny’s jealousy over his wife’s growing attraction toward an earnest airplane pilot (Robert Stack) who gives her unusually devoted attention. Brilliant comedy that is capped off with a hysterical final scene, and is never disrespectful of its themes.  Remade to equal effect by Mel Brooks in 1983.

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