BLUEBEARD’S EIGHTH WIFE
1938, Universal, 85 min, USA, Dir: Ernst Lubitsch

Gary Cooper plays multimillionaire Michael Brandon, who changes wives as if they were underwear (or, in this case, pajama tops) until he marries the daughter (Claudette Colbert) of an impoverished marquis. As lucrative as divorce would be, the young woman is determined to be the final Mrs. Brandon. Director Ernst Lubitsch’s first pairing with the Charles Brackett-Billy Wilder writing team was a match made in heaven.


HEAVEN CAN WAIT
1943, 20th Century Fox, 112 min, USA, Dir: Ernst Lubitsch

No, not the one with Warren Beatty, but the glorious Technicolor fantasy in which newly deceased Don Ameche arrives in Hell and reviews his life to learn if he’s going to remain Down There or not. With Gene Tierney, Charles Coburn, Marjorie Main, Eugene Pallette (did this guy ever take a vacation?), Spring Byington and a marvelous turn by Laird Cregar as a very genial…could it be Satan!?


TO BE OR NOT TO BE
1942, Westchester Films, 99 min, USA, Dir: Ernst Lubitsch

The threat posed by Nazi Germany was very real when director Ernst Lubitsch took aim at the Third Reich in this now-classic comedy. Jack Benny and Carole Lombard (in her final role) are married actors in Warsaw when Hitler’s troops invade; they and the rest of their company must give the performances of their lives to save pilot Robert Stack and the Polish resistance from Nazi spies. No less a comedic great than Mel Brooks put his stamp of approval on the film, remaking it in 1983.


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