Standing Ovation column. An excerpt:
There are other Lombard performances worth a look: her definitive ditz in “My Man Godfrey”; her entirely convincing dramatic work in “Hands Across the Table”; even her sassy bride in “No Man of Her Own.” But only in “To Be or Not to Be” was she given the fullest measure of that greatest acting opportunity: the chance to show restraint, to underplay, to load subtext under a glittering surface. And what a surface: Swathed in an hourglass wrap by Irene, or with her hair laced with flowers to play Ophelia, Lombard never looked more radiantly glamorous, with the borrowed high-status grandiloquence of the classical actor. But when the dire circumstances of the plot conspire to reduce her to the actor’s more typical status of Gypsy or whore—a word Siletsky pointedly almost utters about her—the brilliant facade drops to show a still more brilliant core of resolute integrity.One footnote about something I noticed on this viewing: If she's playing Ophelia, then it's in a dramatically reorganized production of Hamlet, given that she entertains Robert Stack's flyboy during her husband's "To be or not to be" speech, then receives her husband in her dressing room, post-speech. But what's a nunnery speech among farceurs?