To Be or Not to Be

To Be or Not to Be is a 1942 American comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Carole Lombard and Jack Benny, and featuring 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 well-known stars of a Warsaw theater company, including "ham" Josef Tura and wife Maria, are rehearsing Gestapo, a satirical play. That night, when the company performs Hamlet, with Josef in the title role, one actor, Bronski, commiserates with colleague Greenberg about always being spear carriers. Greenberg, implied to be Jewish, reveals he's always dreamed of playing Shylock in ''The'' ''Merchant of Venice''.