The Twin Geekscast 106: To Be or Not to Be (1942)

In the midst of America’s engagement in the Second World War, when the horrors of Nazism and the eradication of the Jewish population were just coming to light, Hollywoods most renowned German émigré set out to skewer the facade of Hitlers regime with the most powerful tools provided to him: the gift of farcical comedy. Ernst Lubitsch’s biting masterwork To Be or Not to Be remains one of the most potent and hysterical films of the legendary comedy director’s entire catalog. The boldness with which it satirizes the Third Reich, during a time when their threat was very real and known, is commendable in and of itself, but even some 75 years later Lubitsch’s crafty film about a group of Polish actors making a mockery of the Gestapo remains relevant and hilarious with all the usual hallmarks of the famous Lubitsch Touch. Jack Benny steps off of the airwaves and onto the movie screen for the most tour de force performance of his career, alongside the divine queen of the Hollywood screwball comedy in her tragic final performance, perhaps the most significant of her entire career. Lubitsch brilliantly balances the drama of the realistic dangers posed by the Nazis with the disarming farce of their obvious ineptitude, paving the way for similar anti-fascist films to come and forever exposing the ludicrous nature of Hitler’s supposed master race. 

Timestamps:
0:00 The Snyder Cut and Problematic Social Labels
7:30 David’s Documentary Discourse: Hail Satan? (2019)
21:13 Seattle Film Critics Society nominations, History of the Seattle Mariners (2020)
30:45 Back to school with Freaks & Geeks (1999-2000)
39:25 To Be or Not to Be

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