To Be or Not to Be (1942)

Passed   |    |  Comedy, War


To Be or Not to Be (1942) Poster

During the Nazi occupation of Poland, an acting troupe becomes embroiled in a Polish soldier's efforts to track down a German spy.


8.2/10
27,106

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User Reviews


15 August 2003 | IamWilliamBlake
9
| A controversial classic that was actually made in 1941
This movie was made before while the US was still playin' both ends against the middle. Makin' huge profits while staying "neutral" The film was not allowed to be released until after, the US entered the war.

Easily the best of the screen versions. The cast is tight and the timing is impeccable. You can really tell that the cast believed in the film. Since America had not taken a formal stance at the time this went into production the producers, cast, and crew were really making something revolutionary and controversial. So much so that the making of this movie was not even mentioned on the Jack Benny radio program. Which is a major deal for those familiar with Old Time Radio, Jack's film career provided excellent material for comedy writers on the radio show, but also the radio show was an excellent opportunity to promote a movie. It is doubtful that this was a missed opportunity, what is more likely is that his sponsor or perhaps the network did not want to advocate a position.

This movie is wonderful for so many reasons. Not only is it hilarious, there is suspense, intrigue, and history. Another poster, mentions the Nazi's jumping out of the plane at the order of a radio transmission by Hitler. The thing to remember here is that the Nazi army was seen as an unstoppable war machine, so efficient, that soldiers would commit suicide if asked. This was less humor than it was to evoke fear of fascism.

Everyone remembers Bob Hope and his travels during WWII, well Jack Benny and Carole Lombard were no slouches either. After all they made this movie. Carole died in a plane crash along with her mother and twenty others returning from a war bond rally before the film was released. Jack went where few if any cameras or radio transmitters could reach. He could be found in the most remote parts of the world entertaining the troops. Not to take anything from Bob, he went there as well, he just had more photo ops.

Bottom line watch this movie--twice, maybe more, the dialogue is so quick and witty there is a good chance you might miss it the first time, them again it is worth at least to looks.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.


Quotes

Narrator: Lubinski, Kubinski, Lominski, Rozanski, and Poznanski. We're in Warsaw, the capital of Poland. It's August 1939. Europe is still at peace. At the moment, life in Warsaw is going on as normally as ever. But, suddenly something seems to have happened!...


Goofs

In the scene early in the movie when Carole Lombard is arguing with the play director about her dress, they begin onstage, in the Gestapo office set. At one point the director switches to a closer shot and they are suddenly backstage, facing in entirely different directions than they were onstage.


Alternate Versions

In the German version there are two changes made to the original score: first, with the Germans marching into Warsaw we hear the fanfares of the Deutsche Wochenschau (i.e. the German News Reel) instead of "normal" music. Then, during the opera scene we hear the Nazis singing all three verses of "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles" in the background. However, in the Third Reich it was common (and was thus later inserted into the German sound track) only to play the verse one, directly leading into the "Horst Wessel Lied", which was something like the official party anthem.


Soundtracks

German National Anthem (Das Lied der Deutschen)
(1797) (uncredited)
(Also called "Deutschland über alles")
Music by
Joseph Haydn (1797)
Lyrics by August Heinrich Hoffman von Fallersleben (1841)
Sung by German military men

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Comedy | War

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