To Be or Not to Be Reviews

  • Mar 22, 2021

    Comedy tastes are probably the most fickle among the basic genres of film. When watching most old humor, you have to remind yourself of the appropriate context to get some real enjoyment out of it and understand how it earned a reputation, but To Be or Not to Be is a clear exception to the rule, having aged brilliantly. The premise is entertaining and brought to life by an often hilarious script that brilliantly weaves together domestic melodrama comedy with sincere stabs at the very active Nazi regime; Benny is as good as he's ever been but is ably assisted by a solid supporting cast, particularly Lombard (whose success is made tragic by her untimely death prior to the film's release). Lubitsch initially received poor feedback from audiences for what some considered to be the downplaying of a global threat, but he instead demonstrates a far deeper understanding of satire than those who take the film only at face value - you don't give a subject like Nazis undeserved respect by treating them solely as a threat worthy of only sober criticism, instead you throw a pie in their face and laugh. Comparisons to Inglorious Basterds and Jojo Rabbit are often brought up given the subject matter and tone, but it seems that Chris Morris' 2010 dark comedy Four Lions would be a more appropriate modern comparison. A comedy champion that deserves greater name recognition in the modern day. (4.5/5)

    Comedy tastes are probably the most fickle among the basic genres of film. When watching most old humor, you have to remind yourself of the appropriate context to get some real enjoyment out of it and understand how it earned a reputation, but To Be or Not to Be is a clear exception to the rule, having aged brilliantly. The premise is entertaining and brought to life by an often hilarious script that brilliantly weaves together domestic melodrama comedy with sincere stabs at the very active Nazi regime; Benny is as good as he's ever been but is ably assisted by a solid supporting cast, particularly Lombard (whose success is made tragic by her untimely death prior to the film's release). Lubitsch initially received poor feedback from audiences for what some considered to be the downplaying of a global threat, but he instead demonstrates a far deeper understanding of satire than those who take the film only at face value - you don't give a subject like Nazis undeserved respect by treating them solely as a threat worthy of only sober criticism, instead you throw a pie in their face and laugh. Comparisons to Inglorious Basterds and Jojo Rabbit are often brought up given the subject matter and tone, but it seems that Chris Morris' 2010 dark comedy Four Lions would be a more appropriate modern comparison. A comedy champion that deserves greater name recognition in the modern day. (4.5/5)

  • Sep 15, 2020

    I love this movie. Carole Lombard is incredible (as is the rest of the cast) and never fails to get me laughing. This movie is clever and funny and everyone should see it at least once.

    I love this movie. Carole Lombard is incredible (as is the rest of the cast) and never fails to get me laughing. This movie is clever and funny and everyone should see it at least once.

  • Jun 10, 2020

    Comedies rarely stand the test of time - this one does!

    Comedies rarely stand the test of time - this one does!

  • May 12, 2020

    Arguably Ernst Lubitsch's magnum opus with a great performance by Carole Lombard as well, To Be or Not to Be is actually pretty funny.

    Arguably Ernst Lubitsch's magnum opus with a great performance by Carole Lombard as well, To Be or Not to Be is actually pretty funny.

  • Apr 12, 2020

    Great satire in 1942. I felt uncomfortable at the beginning of the movie but it quickly develops into a Nazi blooper reel. Lombard (in her final roll) is gorgeous and brilliant and Benny is even very good. Supporting cast Bressart and Rumin are wonderful. Easy to see why Mel Brooks remade it.

    Great satire in 1942. I felt uncomfortable at the beginning of the movie but it quickly develops into a Nazi blooper reel. Lombard (in her final roll) is gorgeous and brilliant and Benny is even very good. Supporting cast Bressart and Rumin are wonderful. Easy to see why Mel Brooks remade it.

  • Oct 17, 2019

    Comments: I've been an action film fan _______________________________ 20 years, _______________________________ I was 10 (1) . (2) years old. I haven't seen a good one _______________________________ a very long time. Last night I saw the movie Robin Hood (3) . and it was horrible! I watched it for about an hour but then I had to turn it off. I kept falling asleep! It was the worst action film I've seen _______________________________ 1191, when I saw Rambo. In my opinion, there still haven't been any good action (5) . films _______________________________ Avatar in 2009. What a disappointment! (6)

    Comments: I've been an action film fan _______________________________ 20 years, _______________________________ I was 10 (1) . (2) years old. I haven't seen a good one _______________________________ a very long time. Last night I saw the movie Robin Hood (3) . and it was horrible! I watched it for about an hour but then I had to turn it off. I kept falling asleep! It was the worst action film I've seen _______________________________ 1191, when I saw Rambo. In my opinion, there still haven't been any good action (5) . films _______________________________ Avatar in 2009. What a disappointment! (6)

  • Feb 14, 2019

    Propaganda material for the Allies -- when they really didn't understand how evil the Nazi menace was. The comedy attempts are below average, especially when filtered through the lens of time. The subject matter is not something you can make funny -- the situation was too dire and this attempt to lighten something serious just doesn't work. It served its purpose during the war years, but quickly lost relevance after the war.

    Propaganda material for the Allies -- when they really didn't understand how evil the Nazi menace was. The comedy attempts are below average, especially when filtered through the lens of time. The subject matter is not something you can make funny -- the situation was too dire and this attempt to lighten something serious just doesn't work. It served its purpose during the war years, but quickly lost relevance after the war.

  • Carlos M Super Reviewer
    Aug 20, 2018

    It takes a brilliant filmmaker to find the perfect tone for something as insane as a slapstick satire involving Nazis at the height of World War II, and Lubitsch not only hits the mark with a fabulous cast (Jack Benny is priceless) but creates a film that is truly hilarious.

    It takes a brilliant filmmaker to find the perfect tone for something as insane as a slapstick satire involving Nazis at the height of World War II, and Lubitsch not only hits the mark with a fabulous cast (Jack Benny is priceless) but creates a film that is truly hilarious.

  • Aug 11, 2018

    Hilarious movie with near perfect writing. Jack Benny and Carole Lombard were fantastic. The acting on a whole, development of characters, timing of delivery and pace of the film were spot on. Put this on, you won't regret it.

    Hilarious movie with near perfect writing. Jack Benny and Carole Lombard were fantastic. The acting on a whole, development of characters, timing of delivery and pace of the film were spot on. Put this on, you won't regret it.

  • Mar 08, 2018

    Inimitable war era comedy with a masterpiece of a screenplay, 'Inglorious Basterds' may take a rest. Ernst Lubitsch is as funny as ever and the picture is a flawless production with literally every scene being a comedic and farce experience. Timeliness of the picture couldn't be more precise.

    Inimitable war era comedy with a masterpiece of a screenplay, 'Inglorious Basterds' may take a rest. Ernst Lubitsch is as funny as ever and the picture is a flawless production with literally every scene being a comedic and farce experience. Timeliness of the picture couldn't be more precise.