IMDb > To Be or Not to Be (1942)
To Be or Not to Be
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To Be or Not to Be (1942) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
8.3/10   16,212 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Melchior Lengyel (original story)
Edwin Justus Mayer (screenplay)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for To Be or Not to Be on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
6 March 1942 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
During the Nazi occupation of Poland, an acting troupe becomes embroiled in a Polish soldier's efforts to track down a German spy. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
One of the great romantic/satirical comedies of all time See more (95 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Carole Lombard ... Maria Tura

Jack Benny ... Joseph Tura

Robert Stack ... Lieut. Stanislav Sobinski
Felix Bressart ... Greenberg

Lionel Atwill ... Rawitch
Stanley Ridges ... Professor Siletsky
Sig Ruman ... Col. Ehrhardt
Tom Dugan ... Bronski
Charles Halton ... Producer Dobosh
George Lynn ... Actor-Adjutant
Henry Victor ... Capt. Schultz
Maude Eburne ... Anna
Halliwell Hobbes ... Gen. Armstrong

Miles Mander ... Major Cunningham
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rudolph Anders ... Gestapo Sergeant at Desk at Top of Hotel Stairs (uncredited)
Paul Barrett ... Polish RAF Pilot (uncredited)
Sven Hugo Borg ... German Soldier (uncredited)
Peter Caldwell ... Wilhelm Kunze (uncredited)
Alec Craig ... Scottish Farmer Without Mustache (uncredited)
Helmut Dantine ... Co-Pilot (uncredited)
Leslie Denison ... Captain (uncredited)
James Finlayson ... Scottish Farmer with Mustache (uncredited)
James Gillette ... Polish RAF Pilot (uncredited)
Leyland Hodgson ... Second Reporter (uncredited)
Shep Houghton ... German Soldier (uncredited)
Olaf Hytten ... Polonius in Warsaw (uncredited)
Charles Irwin ... Reporter (uncredited)
John Kellogg ... RAF Flyer (uncredited)
Adolf E. Licho ... Prompter (uncredited)
John Meredith ... English Wireless Operator (uncredited)
Maurice Murphy ... Polish RAF Pilot (uncredited)
Russ Powell ... Bystander (uncredited)

Frank Reicher ... Polish Official (uncredited)
Otto Reichow ... Co-Pilot (uncredited)

Gene Rizzi ... Polish RAF Pilot (uncredited)
Hans Schumm ... (uncredited)
Roland Varno ... Pilot (uncredited)
Ernö Verebes ... Stage Manager (uncredited)
Armand 'Curly' Wright ... Makeup Man (uncredited)
Wolfgang Zilzer ... Man in Bookstore (uncredited)

Directed by
Ernst Lubitsch 
 
Writing credits
Melchior Lengyel (original story)

Edwin Justus Mayer (screenplay)

Ernst Lubitsch  original story (uncredited)

Produced by
Ernst Lubitsch .... producer
 
Original Music by
Werner R. Heymann (musical score by)
 
Cinematography by
Rudolph Maté (photographed by)
 
Film Editing by
Dorothy Spencer (film editor)
 
Casting by
Victor Sutker 
 
Production Design by
Vincent Korda (production designed by)
 
Set Decoration by
Julia Heron (interior decoration)
 
Makeup Department
Gordon Bau .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Walter Mayo .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
William McGarry .... assistant director
William Tummel .... assistant director
 
Art Department
J. McMillan Johnson .... associate art director (as J. MacMillan Johnson)
Jack Caffey .... props (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Frank Maher .... sound
 
Special Effects by
Lawrence W. Butler .... special effects (as Lawrence Butler)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Irene .... costumes: Miss Lombard
 
Music Department
Miklós Rózsa .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Eugene Zador .... orchestrator: Miklós Rózsa (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Alexander Korda .... presenter
Ryszard Ordynski .... technical supervisor (as Richard Ordynski)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
99 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Certification:
Canada:PG (video rating) | Finland:S | France:U | Netherlands:6 | Netherlands:14 (original rating) (1947) | South Korea:12 (2003) | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:U (tv rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1988) (1997) | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #7834) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating) | West Germany:12

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Final film of Carole Lombard.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Maria types the memo to put under the pillow, she types two lines with a total of 18 keystrokes. However, the actual memo is four lines of about 80 plus keystrokes (not counting spaces).See more »
Quotes:
Anna:What a husband doesn't know won't hurt his wife.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in OSS 117: Lost in Rio (2009)See more »
Soundtrack:
Polonaise in A major, Op.40 No.3, 'Military'See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
61 out of 84 people found the following review useful.
One of the great romantic/satirical comedies of all time, 20 November 2005
Author: Michael Open from Belfast, NI

There is a famous review of this film by the late Sunday Times critic, Dilys Powell which begins 'Is the joke funny?'... what Miss Powell was getting at was that, given the horror of the Holocaust, it is appropriate to laugh at the Nazis. The answer is, ultimately, irrelevant to the viewing of this modest masterpiece.

Lubitsch was, by this time, coming to the end of an exquisite career that defined the nature of sophistication in 'light' cinema. 'To Be or Not To Be' skips lightly over all of the minefield of a subject like this and it is difficult or impossible to think of any other filmmaker who might have managed it (if you look at Mel Brooks' limp remake, you can see why).

In 1996, I presented a massive season of 'the greatest' films in Belfast for the centenary of cinema - 250 titles in 9 months. Of all of them, this was the film which got the greatest ovation - about 5 minutes with a nearly full house standing and applauding! They may have applauded for many reasons, but here are certainly some of them...

The very complicated narrative is presented virtually flawlessly and the comedy is never allowed to hold up the narrative. The principle actors - Carole Lombard (breathtakingly beautiful) and Jack Benny in particular, but many of the supporting cast as well - throw themselves into the affair with a gusto that is completely infectious. Apart from the satirical aspect of the story and the way in which Hitler and the Nazis are mercilessly ridiculed for their authoritarianism and the fear which is their only motivator, the film pokes gentle fun at the vanity of actors in a warm and happy manner. Finally, and most important, is the notion of farce. Farce rarely works in the cinema, but here it does, and in the grand manner - just look at how many times the situation regarding Professor Siletsky changes profoundly during the film - it is dizzying - yet the characters manage to come up with (often self-defeating or inappropriate) schemes on every occasion.

This is a wonderful work that, I have no hesitation in saying, is absolutely vital for anyone who wants to really understand the glory of the cinema. But to answer Dilys Powell's question... yes, the joke is deliriously funny.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (95 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for To Be or Not to Be (1942)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Carole Lombard is so wonderful in this film willowz_girl
Opening title music? freinth1
Anyone know ... tdwalla1
Mel Brooks's remake gives this film a bad name tunatomatoe
Greatest quote... lordxur
Has anyone noticed the appointment list? jcabc3596
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