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To Be or Not to Be (1942)

Passed | | Comedy, War | 6 March 1942 (USA)
During the Nazi occupation of Poland, an acting troupe becomes embroiled in a Polish soldier's efforts to track down a German spy.

Director:

Writers:

(original story), (screenplay)
Reviews

On TV

Airs Sat. Sep. 23, 3:30 AM on TCM

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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...
Greenberg
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...
...
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Bronski
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...
Actor-Adjutant
...
...
Anna
Halliwell Hobbes ...
General Armstrong
...
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Storyline

In occupied Poland during WWII, a troupe of ham stage actors (led by Joseph Tura and his wife Maria) match wits with the Nazis. A spy has information which would be very damaging to the Polish resistance and they must prevent it's being delivered to the Germans. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

6 March 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ser o no ser  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mary Livingstone reported in her book "Jack Benny" that Jack could not attend a preview screening scheduled for the release of the movie on the Monday following Carole Lombard's death because he was so distraught by her death. She also indicated that the preview audience gasped when Jack and Carole's name appeared in the opening credits and then clapped and cheered every time she appeared on screen. See more »

Goofs

During the flight to Warsaw, the wire holding the obviously model airplane is visible. See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant Stanislav Sobinski: You see, sir, the other night Professor Siletsky was addressing us at the camp, and I mentioned the name of Maria Tura - and he never heard of her.
Gen. Armstrong: Neither have I.
Lieutenant Stanislav Sobinski: Oh, but, he's supposed to be a Pole who lived in Warsaw and she's the most famous actress in Warsaw.
Gen. Armstrong: Now, look here, young man, there are lots of people who're not interested in the theater. As a matter of fact, there's only one actress I ever heard of - and I certainly hope I'll never hear from her again.
See more »

Connections

Remade as To Be or Not to Be (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Polonaise in A major, Op. 40, No. 1, 'Military'
(1838) (uncredited)
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Orchestral arrangement by Aleksandr Glazunov
Heard during the opening and closing credits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent propaganda comedy
18 March 2006 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

During and just before WWII, there were a lot of propaganda films created by Hollywood to drum up morale in our fight against Fascism. Nearly all of them were deadly serious war films. And, while many of them were great, after a while they all tended to blend together. Because of this, TO BE OR NOT TO BE is a real standout picture. The movie is a comedy and yet is every bit as effective in inspiring the war effort. Now it's not surprising that the film is so well-made as its director is Ernst Lubitsch and he is ably supported by lots of wonderful character actors such as Felix Bressart and Sig Rumand (among others). However, the nice surprise about the movie was the acting of Jack Benny in the starring role (along with the wonderful Carole Lombard). For years, Benny made fun of his acting and the movies he made, but he was great and the film was great. Aside from the rather dopey HORN BLOWS AT MIDNIGHT, in fact, I really like the few films he made.

All-in-all, a fine and fun film--chock full of quality.


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