Saturday, July 27, 2019


This is my choice (choices) for Best Picture for the year 1942. My criteria is that I can only use films that are on the 1001 list. To make it a little easier on myself, I am using the rules of the first Academy Award and name a winner for Best Picture (won by Wings for 1927-1928) and Best and Unique and Artistic Picture (won by Sunrise from 1927-1928). 

All this and World War II.

And the nominees on the entries from every edition of 1001 Movie You Must See Before You Die are...
The Palm Beach Story
Now, Voyager
To Be or Not to Be
Cat People
The Magnificent Ambersons
Yankee Doodle Dandy
Mrs. Miniver

And the winner for the Best Picture of 1942 is…To Be or Not to Be

To Be or Not to Be

It has been many years since I've seen To Be or Not to Be, and after watching it again, I think it is rightly regarded as a classic. The story is about a company of Polish actors during the time of the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. The plot is thick with intrigue, but most of all it's also a very funny film. The cast is headed by Jack Benny. Jack later became one of the biggest stars on television during the 50's, where he always made fun of his movie career. But he is great in the lead role and very funny. His delivery at times reminds me of Groucho Marx, who is about the only other person I could picture playing this role of the hammy actor. This is also the last role for Carole Lombard, who died in an airplane crash shortly after this movie was made. She was also great here and her death was a great loss to cinema. I also like the fact that this movie came out right in the middle of World War II. Something to be said for mocking Hitler when he was still a force to be reckoned with. Much credit should also be given to director Ernest Lubitsch and screenwriters Melchior Lengyel and Edwin Justus Mayer. 

To Be or Not to Be

And the Award for Unique and Artistic Picture of 1942 is...Casablanca


How can I leave out Casablanca? Like Citizen Kane, the story of Rick, Ilsa and the rest of the Casablanca gang is such a classic (and still so bloody entertaining) that it would have to go in a category somewhere. The only question should it go in the art piece category? I'm not even sure what year to put it in. It did have a brief 1942 release, but didn't win the Oscar until the following year. I'm just putting it down for 1942, though it would win for me for 1943, too.



  1. For me, Casablanca would win in any year. It is one of the truly great films in movie history. Sure, To Be or Not to Be is a wonderful movie, but does it swing up to the same heights as Casablanca?

    I would suggest Cat People for the artistic award. So many noir and horror elements are introduced here in what is otherwise a mediocre film.

  2. If there was one choice it would definitely be Casablanca. To Be or Not to Be is one of my favorite movies from the era.