CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Carole Lombard and Jack Benny are perfect in To Be Or Not To Be (1942)

Just recently saw To Be Or Not To Be on TCM the other night and it is still a tremendously great film. I hadn't seen in at least 10 years but everything still works. Ernst Lubitsch directs the 1942 political satire classic To Be or Not to Be, which marked the final screen appearance of comedienne Carole Lombard. In Warsaw at the beginning of WWII, Maria Tura (Lombard) and husband Joseph (Jack Benny) perform anti-Nazi plays with their theater troupe until they are forced to switch to Shakespeare's Hamlet. Lt. Stanislav Sobinski (Robert Stack) falls for Maria and meets up with her during Joseph's famous To Be or Not to Be speech as Hamlet. When Stanislav is eventually dispatched for war, he implicates Maria with Professor Siletsky (Stanley Ridges), who has a secret plan to destroy the Warsaw resistance. The Polish theater troupe is then forced to use their theatrical skills to ensure their survival. Eventually, they turn to impersonating Nazi officers -- and even Hitler himself -- in order to outwit the enemy and keep the resistance safe from spies. Carole Lombard positively glows in what would be her final film role. She just radiates a heavenly presence and has wonderful chemistry with Jack Benny, who gets a lot of the laughs in this classic screwball comedy film.

Maria Tura: It's becoming ridiculous the way you grab attention. Whenever I start to tell a story, you finish it. If I go on a diet, you lose the weight. If I have a cold, you cough. And if we should ever have a baby, I'm not so sure I'd be the mother.
Josef Tura: I'm satisfied to be the father.

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