To Be or Not to Be


A VOUS DE JOUER ! / Jeux de rôles

To Be or Not to Be

1942 / US / 99min / Black and White / Blu-ray

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Writer: Edwin Justus Mayer
Cinematography: Rudolph Maté
Music: Werner R. Heymann
Cast: Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart, Lionel Atwill

Warsaw, Poland in 1939, on the eve of World War II. Josef and Maria Tura are stage actors, and Josef has a starring role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but while he is delivering the lengthy “To be or not to be…” sililoquy, Maria is off clandestinely meeting the handsome Lieutenant Sobinski, who has confessed his love for her. Soon, however, Germany invades Poland, and the Turas’ troupe turns their theater to another purpose: they disguise it as a Gestapo headquarters and put on an elaborate play to deceive the Nazis. Though made in the midst of World War II, the film brims with humor, playfulness and style, a brilliant comedy illuminated by Lubitsch’s uniquely sophisticated touch.

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