Tuesday, March 11, 2014

To Be or Not to Be

A grandstanding actor (Jack Benny) and his gorgeous wife (Carole Lombard) head an acting troupe in Warsaw and have just staged a play lampooning Hitler when the Nazis invade in 1939. Quickly they take up with the resistance by way of an RAF pilot (Robert Stack) (who just so happens to have the hots for Lombard and who keeps rudely excusing himself during Benny's key title soliloquy) and become mired in a complex and dangerous scheme to rout out a German spy. To Be or Not to Be is an uproariously funny and ingeniously plotted wartime comedy from master writer/director Ernst Lubitsch. Benny and Lombard are simply marvelous and Felix Bressart steals the show as a frustrated ensemble player just itching for the opportunity to perform another famous Shakespeare speech.