Sunday, October 26, 2008

To Be Or Not To Be

Ollako vai eikö olla / Att vara eller icke vara. USA © 1942 Romaine Film Corporation. Presenter: Alexander Korda. P+D: Ernst Lubitsch. SC: Edwin Justus Mayer – from a story by Melchior Lengyel [and Ernst Lubitsch]. DP: Rudolph Maté. AD: Vincent Korda. Interior decorations: Julia Heron. Miss Lombard's costumes: Irene. M: Werner R. Heymann. ED: Dorothy Spencer. CAST: Carole Lombard (Maria Tura), Jack Benny (Joseph Tura), Robert Stack (Ltn. Stanislav Sobinski), Felix Bressart (Greenberg), Lionel Atwill (Rawitch), Stanley Ridges (Prof. Siletsky), Sig Ruman (Col. Ehrhardt), Tom Dugan (Bronski), Charles Halton (producer Dobosch), George Lynn (actor-adjutant), Henry Victor (Capt. Schultz), Maude Eburne (Anna), Halliwell Hobbes (Gen. Armstrong), Miles Mander (Maj. Cunningham), James Finlayson (Scotch farmer). 99 min. A Cinémathèque Royale print with French / Flemish subtitles viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 26 Oct 2008. - A worn print with a dark duped fourth reel. - Quite a laugh success with the audience again, the comedy works very well. - The more I see this the more audacious I realize it is: a comedy made in 1942 with topics such as Hitler, the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, concentration camps... and there is nothing cynical in it. - It is a Resistance comedy which does not glorify its heroes nor demonize its villains. They / we are all dumb, frail, inconsistent, erring human beings, capable of good and evil to each other. - "What you are I won't eat". - Maria Tura wears her evening best for the scene where her character is due to the concentration camp. - "Three tons of dynamite in two minutes". - "Take me to 3000 meters". - Maria's reaction to Siletsky's kiss: "Heil Hitler!". - Joseph Tura impersonating Col Ehrhardt: "I'm running out of dialogue". - The real Ehrhardt is the only one who has seen Joseph on stage: "What he did to Shakespeare we are now doing to Poland". - The comedy starts at a high gear, and manages to climax five times during the last minutes.

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