TRUE CONFESSION
1937, Universal, 85 min, USA, Dir: Wesley Ruggles

Director Wesley Ruggles helmed this rarely screened screwball comedy. Pathological liar Carole Lombard tries to boost the career of her scrupulously honest (and thus unsuccessful) lawyer husband (Fred MacMurray) by confessing to a murder so he can defend her. John Barrymore is an egotistical opportunist who tries to blackmail her, with hilarious results. “Lombard is in full command of her daffy talent, dominating a number of long, virtuoso takes. One scene with slow-burning cop Edgar Kennedy is like a master class in comic timing.” – Dan Callahan, Slant Magazine


MR. & MRS. SMITH (1941)
1941, Warner Bros., 91 min, USA, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Yes, there is a screwball comedy among the Hitchcock oeuvre, and a highly amusing one at that. When Robert Montgomery tells wife Carole Lombard that he wouldn’t marry her again, he soon regrets the joke - it turns out that, due to a technicality, their marriage was never valid, and that friend Gene Raymond has a thing for the suddenly available Lombard.


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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