Capital Celluloid 2020 – Day 20: Mon Jan 20

To Be or Not to Be (Lubitsch, 1942): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10pm

This 35mm presentation, also being screened on January 14th, of the Ernst Lubitsch classic is part of the Carole Lombard season at BFI Southbank. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Ernst Lubitsch directed this 1942 film from his own story about a troupe of Polish actors stranded in the Nazi-occupied Warsaw of World War II. It could be his finest achievement, and it's certainly one of the most profound, emotionally complex comedies ever made, covering a range of tones from satire to slapstick to shocking black humor. The issues, as the title suggests, are deeply serious, but it's part of the film's strategy—and the strategy it endorses for its characters—never to openly acknowledge them. Jack Benny, as the leader of the troupe, displays an acting talent never again demanded of him; Carole Lombard, in her last film, is kittenish, slinky, and witty as his unfaithful wife. With Robert Stack and Sig Ruman.

Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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