To Be or Not to Be
To Be or Not to Be is a 1942 American black comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart, Lionel Atwill, Stanley Ridges and Sig Ruman. The plot concerns a troupe of actors in Nazi-occupied Warsaw who use their abilities at disguise and acting to fool the occupying troops. It was adapted by Lubitsch (uncredited) and Edwin Justus Mayer from the story by Melchior Lengyel. The film was released one month after actress Carole Lombard was killed in an airplane crash. In 1996, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
The setting is Warsaw, Poland, just before the 1939 Nazi Germany invasion. The well-known stars of a Warsaw theater company, "ham" actor Josef Tura (Jack Benny) and his beautiful wife, Maria (Carole Lombard), along with the rest of the company, are rehearsing "Gestapo", a play satirizing the Nazis. One of the actors, Bronski (Tom Dugan), even proves that he can pass for Hitler in the street.
|author||Edwin Justus Mayer|
|award||National Film Registry|
|events||World War II|
|genre||comedy-drama historical political satire|
|keywords||act air force allies of world war ii ally deutschlandlied dressing room end even famous speech fight german soldier gestapo ham hamlet jew kill meet merchant of venice national anthem nazi germany polish resistance polish resistance movement in world war ii royal air force scotland shylock sing spear carrier the merchant of venice warsaw without a word|
|musicBy||Werner R. Heymann|
|nomination||Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic or Comedy Score|
|productionCompany||Romaine Film Corp.|
|theme||black comedy screwball comedy|