Sunday, June 15, 2008
Lubitsch: “To Be or not to Be”
Some people think this film oversteps the boundary of good taste. I admit that it makes me a little queasy. It is set in Nazi-occupied Warsaw, and it's a comedy. This is despite the fact that both its star (Jack Benny) and its director were Jewish. It didn't do well at the box office. It was not helped by the fact it was Carole Lombard's last film; she died in a plane crash on a trip selling war bonds. "To Be or Not to Be" was remade by Mel Brooks. The film concerns an acting troupe, headed by Benny. Benny is married to Lombard, who's his leading lady. The troupe attempts to thwart the Nazi efforts to crush the Polish underground. The screenplay is by Melchior Lengyel. This photo is of Lubitsch on the set.