To Be or Not to Be Film Still

To Be or Not to Be

Ernst Lubitsch

 
To Be or Not to Be (Criterion Blu-Ray)

Blu-Ray

1 Disc

SRP: $39.95

Criterion Store price:$31.96

  • United States
  • 1942
  • 99 minutes
  • Black and White
  • 1.37:1
  • English
  •  
  • Spine #670

As nervy as it is hilarious, this screwball masterpiece from Ernst Lubitsch stars Jack Benny and, in her final screen appearance, Carole Lombard as husband-and-wife thespians in Nazi-occupied Warsaw who become caught up in a dangerous spy plot. To Be or Not to Be is a Hollywood film of the boldest 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.

Cast

Maria TuraCarole Lombard
Joseph TuraJack Benny
Lieutenant SobinskiRobert Stack
GreenbergFelix Bressart
RawitchLionel Atwill
Professor SiletskyStanley Ridges
Colonel EhrhardtSig Ruman
BronskiTom Dugan

Credits

Disc Features

  • New, restored 2K digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New audio commentary featuring film historian David Kalat
  • Pinkus’s Shoe Palace, a 1916 German silent short directed by and starring Ernst Lubitsch, with a new piano score by Donald Sosin
  • Lubitsch le patron, a 2010 French documentary on the director’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
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and a 1942 New York Times op-ed by Lubitsch


New cover by Caitlin Kuhwald

Film Essays

Tobeornottobe_current_thumbnail

To Be or Not to Be: The Play’s the Thing

By Geoffrey O'Brien August 27, 2013

Ernst Lubitsch’s World War II–era high-wire act is a profound take on the absurdity cruelty of civilization and a perfect black comedy to boot. Read more »

Photo Galleries

The Poster Art of Hans Hillmann

By Sarah Habibi May 12, 2014


Web Exclusives

Tbontb_feature(1)_thumbnail

How to Film Jack Benny

By Stephen Winer September 04, 2013

Only Ernst Lubitsch got the great comedian to be as funny on the big screen as he was on the radio. Read more »


Three Reasons


Film Essays

Tobeornottobe_current_thumbnail

To Be or Not to Be: The Play’s the Thing

By Geoffrey O'Brien August 27, 2013

Ernst Lubitsch’s World War II–era high-wire act is a profound take on the absurdity cruelty of civilization and a perfect black comedy to boot. Read more »

P_grand_illusion_bw_w160

Seen It....

by Drew Phillips

Updated 02/01/2016

Film_601t_letterneversent_w160

Check list (part three)

by Matt

Updated 02/05/2016

Film_591w_12angrymen_w160

Barry Woodward's Top 50

by Barry Woodward

Updated 01/29/2016

P_grand_illusion_bw_w160

2.5 Years in...

by Brandon_Bacall

Updated 01/27/2016

Film_31w_greatexpectations_bw_new_w80

Alan W.

Updated 02/05/2016

35_031_w80

Andrew S.

Updated 01/29/2016

Film_140w_8_1_2_w80

Scott Jackson

Updated 02/09/2016

John B.

Updated 12/25/2015

Film_138w_rashomon_w80

adamblanche

Updated 12/14/2015

Film_670w_tobenottobe_w80

heevelyn

Updated 01/26/2016

Flim_64w_thirdman_w80

David Schenk

Updated 01/21/2016

Film_36w_wagesfear_w80

KennyBunkport

Updated 11/20/2015

Film_748w_watershipdown_w80

filmwolf

Updated 01/04/2016

watermelonpies

Updated 02/08/2016

Close

Log in to your Criterion.com account