I love Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not to Be.
Brilliant script. Terrific performances by Jack Benny, Carole Lombard, Sig Ruman and the rest of the brilliant cast. And of course perfect, sly direction by the immortal Lubitsch.
Sure it’s in questionable taste – what with a story concerning a company of Polish actors and their wartime efforts to foil a Nazi plan – and even now some of the material seems iffy. But it remains razor-sharp, as well as still topical to this day. I watched this film again last night for what may have been the 45th time, and it’s still fresh. That’s the mark of a great movie. It just doesn’t get old.
I’ve seen the remake with Mel Brooks, too, and it’s just not the same. The Lubitsch version is tops; there’s no comparison. I’m giving the medal to that one for quality.