IMDb > To Be or Not to Be (1942)
To Be or Not to Be
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

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

Photos (See all 14 | slideshow)

Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   17,289 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Up 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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:
An early classic war-time spoof of the enemy See more (98 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:
After the shooting of this film was finished, Carole Lombard told many people that this film was the happiest experience of her career from start to finish.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: When Tura is disguised as Colonel Ehrhardt in his meeting with Siletsky he is wearing the uniform of a Major General (actually an SS-Gruppenfuehrer).See more »
Quotes:
Greenberg:A laugh is nothing to be sneezed at.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Polonaise in A major, Op. 40, No. 1, 'Military'See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
An early classic war-time spoof of the enemy, 6 November 2014
Author: SimonJack from United States

I recall the first time I saw this movie – how I was gripped by the humor, then by the intrigue about what came next, then by concern that Carol Lombard would be found out, and then back to the humor again. This film has considerable darting between its emotion-inducing scenes. That makes it all the more a great satire and comedy. Of course, I knew it was to be a comedy. What else could it be with Jack Benny and Carole Lombard? Still, a somewhat zany story, with great screen writing and equally great direction by Ernst Lubitsch, was able to hold sway over my viewing.

Then we add superb acting all around. Carol Lombard is excellent in her role as Maria Tura. Her humorous lines are very good, but as in many other films, her "straight man" role plays perfectly with Jack Benny's Joseph Tura. His are the exaggerated blown-up lines, side glances, smirks and assorted facial expressions that ignite our uproarious laughter. Since my first viewing, I now watch this film for the pure humor and satire, and I watch for the many little subtleties that I often miss in such clever films on first viewing. And, they're not all by the main stars.

The movie has several top-flight supporting actors of its day. They are the source of many of the laughs. Most are members of the Polish theater group. Felix Bressart plays Greenberg, Tom Dugan plays Bronski, Charles Halton plays Producer Dobosh, and Lionel Atwill plays Rawitch. Viewers knew for sure that the role of SS Col. Ehrhardt would not be too stern or serious – with Sig Ruman in the role. Robert Stack is very good in his role as Polish pilot, Lt. Stanislav Sobinski, and Stanley Ridges does well in the straightest role of the film, as Professor Siletsky.

"To Be or Not to Be" is one of a very small number of films that are genuine satire. Of course, satire is comedy and humor. But it can also be dramatic, action-filled, pathos, empathy and mystery or intrigue. It is most often a combination of these. The comedy is often the release or relief from what the story would be without it. The genius of comedy- satire is its ability to make audiences laugh by its treatment of a subject that most often is not otherwise very funny. Satire can cover any and all aspects of life, but the very best – and that with unquestionably wide appeal – is political satire. That's what we have in "To Be or Not to Be."

This film is a must for any movie library. It may not be as funny to younger audiences who haven't yet studied the history of the World War II period. The film was made in 1941, before the U.S. entered the war. Because America was still neutral, this movie was considered too controversial so it was held back. It was finally scheduled for release in April, 1942, Then a sad event preceded its opening when Carol Lombard was killed in a plane crash in February. She was just 33 years old.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (98 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
Has anyone noticed the appointment list? jcabc3596
Carole Lombard is so wonderful in this film willowz_girl
Greatest quote... lordxur
courageous stevenvh
Opening title music? freinth1
Anyone know ... tdwalla1
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Bon voyage Closely Watched Trains Annie Hall The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp The House on 92nd Street
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Comedy section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.