|Carole Lombard- To be or Not to Be was her last film.|
To Be Or Not To Be (1942)
d. Ernest Lubitsch
Criterion Collection #670
Criterion Collection edition released on August 27th, 2013
Here is another strange title- not listed as being available on Hulu Plus on the Criterion Collection product page, but none the less available for viewing the same day (if not before?) the new release. To Be Or Not To Be is not listed in the recently added tab when you navigate the Criterion Collection on Hulu Plus, so I don't know if it has been up for a long time or if it just hasn't been featured as a recent addition yet. It's actually a been a couple days since they've uploaded a new title, perhaps because this marks of the end of their 101 Days of Summer promotion where they uploaded a new title every day for 101 days.
To Boe Or Not To Be is what you call a "Hitler comedy" a group of perhaps four or five films (maybe six if you count Downfall as a comedy;) that deal with Hitler as a comic figure. You've got the Great Dictator, of course. The Producers. And, To Be Or Not To Be, which falls under the category of "too soon." Directed by the long tenured German filmmaker Ernest Lubitsch, To Be Or Not To Be starred Jack Benny and Carole Lombard as actors who are also members of the Polish resistance.
They get involved in a "screw ball comedy" style plot that features much innuendo, costume changes and displays of verbal wit by Jack Benny. Like many Criterion Collection titles, To Be Or Not To Be is both better and worse then it sounds. To Be Or Not To Be is better then it sounds because the direction and performances are first rate. To Be or Not to Be is worse then it sounds because Hitler does not really go well with the screwball comedy genre- he's more of a subject for satire (see The Great Dictator.)