Blu-ray, DVD Release: To Be or Not to Be (1942)

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Aug. 27, 2013
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion


To Be or Not to Be movie scene

Carole Lombard and Jack Benny make a joke out of the Nazis in To Be or Not to Be.

Jack Benny (The Jack Benny Program) and, in her final screen appearance, Carole Lombard (My Man Godfrey) star in To Be or Not to Be, a 1942 screwball comedy masterpiece from Ernst Lubitsch (Trouble in Paradise).

As nervy as it is hilarious, the classic film features Benny and Lombard as husband-and-wife thespians in Nazi-occupied Warsaw who become caught up in a dangerous plot wherein a Polish soldier is trying to track down a German spy.

To Be or Not to Be is a Hollywood film of the undeniably bold black humor, which went into production soon after the U.S. entered World War II. Lubitsch manages to brilliantly balance political satire, romance, slapstick, and urgent wartime suspense in a comic high-wire act that has never been equaled.

The Criterion DVD and Blu-ray contain the following features:

• New, restored 2K digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
• New audio commentary featuring film historian David Kalat
Lubitsch le patron, a 2010 French documentary on director Ernst Lubitsch’s career
• Two episodes of The Screen Guild Theater, a radio anthology series: Variety (1940), starring Jack Benny, Claudette Colbert, and Lubitsch, and To Be or Not to Be (1942), an adaptation of the film, starring William Powell, Diana Lewis, and Sig Ruman
• Trailer
• A booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien
• More!

Buy or Rent To Be or Not to Be
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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.