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Dante's Pick: Director Joe Dante Selects His 13 Favourite Films
Ian Schultz , September 16th, 2016 08:40

To coincide with the release of his cult classic Matinee on Blu-Ray, the director of Gremlins, The Burbs and Explorers, Joe Dante, picks a Baker's Dozen of his favourite films for The Quietus


To Be Or Not To Be (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942)

That takes me to Lubitsch, where my favourite Lubitsch picture—again, hard to choose—is To Be Or Not to Be, which I think is one if the great movies of the ‘40s. It's an incredibly angry comedy made by a man who sees Europe about to completely fall apart, and stars Jack Benny in his greatest role. Again, it's a movie that mixes humour with things that at the time were considered so tasteless that people were shocked that anybody could be making a movie about this subject. But it is genuinely funny, and it comes from character humour and an incredible cast. And I liked Mel Brooks, but I never quite understood his decision to remake that picture, because It was so of its time. What really works about the movie is that you can feel the world around it, you know, you can… it encroaches on the movie because you know what was really going on. When people saw the movie originally they weren’t quite aware of how bad things were in the camps, but they knew that they were not good. I think the revelations that have come out since have made people look at the movie a little askance. Like he’s making fun of people being shoved into the pits with bulldozers. Well no, not quite, but it’s still a great film. Just to say it’s your favourite Lubitsch movie, that’s a pretty high mark.