To Be or Not to Be (1983)
In late 1930s Poland, a troupe of musical comedy actors are forced into hiding and soon find themselves involved in a farcical plot to foil a group of Nazis. Real-life spouses Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft star in this remake of the 1940s Ernest Lubitsch classic.
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Critic Reviews for To Be or Not to Be
Bancroft's sustained delights are not matched by Brooks, who seems to be trying too hard.
Johnson may not quite have Lubitsch's lightness of touch, but he puts an excellent cast through their paces with great verve, and the charm is as potent as ever.
Brooks combines a backstage musical with a wartime romance and comes up with an eclectic comedy that races off into several directions, usually successfully.
I can't remember another film that took so little care with the details of ambience: the cruddy sets and flat, underworked sound track drain any sense of life from the project.
The plot is much the same as in the Ernst Lubitsch original, with everything played for laughs and Brooks at his funniest in impersonations of Nazis. What's missing is the relevance of the 1942 film, released while Germany occupied Poland.
Superfluous remake of the Lubitsch classic is OK on its own merits, but no more.
This movie has its moments; but it is not as funny as the Jack Benny original; Brooks for all his wit, is no Ernst Lubitsch.
Brooks and his comedic cohorts bring their brand of high-strung mockery to Alan Johnson's flavorable farce...relentlessly riotous!
Audience Reviews for To Be or Not to Be
Excellent and long forgotten spoof from funny man Brooks, his version of a classic satire. Some excellent casting with his regular bunch of misfits and character actors...Chris Lloyd, Charles Durning, George Wyner, George Gaynes etc..Its quite a touching little plot too, but ultimately very funny and quite witty, especially loving Lloyd and Durning as nazi soldiers :)More
The Nazis march into Poland and that spells big trouble for the greatest musical comedy star there (and his wife) --- the premise itself is a joke in this mostly-for-the-fun-of-it remake. Its not the original, true, but its fun watching the cast have fun funning the idea of a master race, all who are portrayed as anything but that. Sometimes the kraut accents sound as bad as your friends doing it and the sets look only a little better than that.More
Lighthearted remake of the classic Benny/Lombard film. Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft seem to be having lots of fun while handling the serious moments well. The supporting cast couldn't be better. A winner.More
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