New Meetup: TO BE OR NOT TO BE Double Feature@ LACMA, July 24 @ 7:00 pm

From: user 3.
Sent on: Tuesday, July 6, 2010 1:35 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for Los Angeles Film Enthusiasts!

What: TO BE OR NOT TO BE Double Feature@ LACMA, July 24 @ 7:00 pm

When: Saturday, July 24,[masked]:00 PM

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Will update later. I have never seen the Lubitsch version of this film but heard that it's hilarious!!


To Be or Not to Be
Saturday, July 24 | 7:30 pm
The American Cinema of Ernst Lubitsch
1942/b&w/99 min. | Scr: Edwin Justice Mayer; dir: Ernst Lubitsch; w/ Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Sig Ruman.

Films that satirized the Nazis as bumbling bureaucrats or depicted the followers of Hitler as robotic thugs proliferated in pre-war Hollywood-Chaplin's The Great Dictator, with its blend of slapstick, sentiment and patriotism, outgrossed Rebecca in 1940?but by 1942 America had joined the Allies and Lubitsch's audacious mix of farce and thriller and biting sarcasm was condemned for its "tasteless" humor and quickly disappeared from screens. Set in occupied Warsaw in 1939, To Be or Not to Be revolves round a troupe of Shakespearean actors, headed by sexy Maria Tura (Lombard) and her vain husband Joseph (Benny) aka "that great Polish actor" who impersonates Nazis in a daring ruse to foil a political assassination. As the wall between theater and reality crumbles, Lubitsch directs his performers through a dizzying array of entrances, exits, and costume changes, while peppering the action with a string of blistering yet very funny one-liners, none more controversial than the outrageous remark to Benny by Sig Ruman's backslapping Nazi commandant: "What you did to Shakespeare, we are now doing to Poland." "Lubitsch's most modernist film? (and) one of the least cynical comedies ever made. The Nazis in the film are like normal people. They are also monsters. Evil is clearly named, but it is also brought closer to familiar feelings and situations than audiences expected which is what gives the film its special quality of hilarity."

Second feature:

A Royal Scandal
Saturday, July 24 | 9:20 pm
The American Cinema of Ernst Lubitsch
1945/b&w/94 min. | Prod: Ernst Lubitsch; scr: Edwin Justice Mayer, Bruno Frank; dir: Otto Preminger; w/ Tallulah Bankhead, Charles Coburn, Vincent Price.

Lubitsch's second film for Fox was a remake of his silent hit Forbidden Passage, a satirical romp starring Pola Negri as Catherine the Great; for the retitled sound version, Lubitsch offered the role of the sexually voracious Czarina to Tallulah Bankhead, a lioness of the Broadway stage whose rare appearance on celluloid thrilled her devoted fans. Lubitsch collaborated with To Be or Not to Be screenwriter Mayer on a script peppered with risqu? one-liners and supervised the actors' rehearsals, but due to Lubitsch's heart problems, Otto Preminger directed the actual filming. The finished comedy clearly lacks the Master's lightness of touch and his skill with ensemble performances?by contrast Preminger relies on reaction shots and dialogue delivered at top speed?but A Royal Scandal is often very funny in the spirit of Mel Brooks, but with better production values. Bankhead, surrounded by palace intrigue and a parade of lovers, plays the Czarina as an extremely vigorous personality with a Russian accent by way of Brooklyn. Coburn is fun as the corrupt Chancellor, and as the French Ambassador, shrugging at the romantic shenanigans and speaking faux Gallic Franglaise, Vincent Price is hysterically camp.

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