Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard

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My Man Godfrey Review


Essential
Director Gregory La Cava's creation is one very good reason to walk right on by the "New Releases" section of your local video store. Make your way over to "Classics," and take home the original 1936 version of My Man Godfrey. This masterpiece screwball comedy, based on Eric Hatch's short novel 1011 Fifth Avenue, is a treasure.

There's more to Godfrey "Duke" Parke (William Powell) than meets the eye. When Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard) transforms this seemingly typical "forgotten man" from a city dump resident to her family's butler, the mystery begins to unravel. Discovered by Irene as the last item in an aristocratic scavenger hunt, Godfrey soon finds out that the chaos of a garbage pile is serene compared to the Bullock household. Rebuffed in her attempt to use him to win the scavenger hunt herself, Irene's sibling-rival Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick) plans to make his life miserable as revenge. Mother Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady) is a perfect role model for her spoiled rotten daughters, the three combining to spend every cent of Alexander Bullock's (Eugene Pallette) fortune and patience.

Continue reading: My Man Godfrey Review

To Be Or Not To Be (1942) Review


Excellent
Decades before Roberto Benigni was romanticizing the Holocaust and Mel Brooks was supposedly courting Nazi controversy on Broadway, Ernst Lubitsch made To Be or Not to Be, a tart little comedy about the Nazi invasion of Poland which, a few glitches aside, was all the more daring for having been made during the war itself, when its outcome was hardly certain. Unfortunately, Brooks remade the film in his own manner some 40 years afterward, substituting most of Lubitsch's wit with his brand of shtick - not as awful as it could have been, but definitely not a patch on the original.

To Be or Not to Be opens in 1939 on the eve of war, with a Warsaw theater troupe rehearsing a satire called Gestapo, which has been ordered shut down by the government, for fear of offending Hitler. The troupe's stars are Maria and Joseph Tura - a self-absorbed flirt and a preening ham who wouldn't know acting if it smacked him in the face - who couldn't be less interested in the outside world, until it comes crashing in. Maria (Carole Lombard, all smoky elegance) is carrying on an affair with handsome pilot Stanislav Sobinski (Robert Stack, shockingly fresh-faced and clear-voiced), while Joseph (a nimbly verbal Jack Benny) seems almost more perturbed by the fact that Sobinski walks out on his Hamlet soliloquy every night than the fact that he's doing so to meet backstage with Maria.

Continue reading: To Be Or Not To Be (1942) Review

Mr. And Mrs. Smith (1941) Review


Weak
It's unusual -- unique, even -- for a director's "big departure" to be a screwball comedy. And here it is: A disastrously ill-advised bickering couple's comedy from none other than Alfred Hitchcock.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith offers a potentially rich setup: Married couple discovers there vows weren't quite legal, and the wife (Carole Lombard) decides she prefers it that way, sending husband (Robert Montgomery) into a tizzy. The usual setups follow: Montgomery checks into his men's club and stalks his "wife," who immediately begins dating a series of men.

Continue reading: Mr. And Mrs. Smith (1941) Review

Twentieth Century Review


Good
John Barrymore shines as the stubborn and eccentric theater director in this screwball comedy, a man who comes unhinged (and he's not fully hinged to begin with) when his leading lady (Carole Lombard) splits the show. He chases her across country on the fabled Twentieth Century train, with loads of absurdities on the way. Funny, but it gets too repetitious in the last act and slowly crumbles into the relatively obscure minor work it has become today.
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Carole Lombard Movies

To Be or Not to Be (1942) Movie Review

To Be or Not to Be (1942) Movie Review

Decades before Roberto Benigni was romanticizing the Holocaust and Mel Brooks was supposedly courting Nazi...

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