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'''''To Be or Not to Be''''' is a 1942 ScrewballComedy produced by Alexander Korda's London Films company (though actually shot in America at the Creator/UnitedArtists studios), directed by Creator/ErnstLubitsch, and starring Jack Benny and Carole Lombard in her final film role.

Set in [[{{UsefulNotes/Poland}} Warsaw]] during the early part of WorldWarII, ''To Be or Not to Be'' follows the fortunes of a group of actors as they get drawn into [[LaResistance the resistance]]. Before the war, actress Maria Tura (Lombard), wife of [[SmallNameBigEgo that great, great Polish actor, Jozef Tura]] (Benny), receives the attentions of [[PolesWithPatrolBoats Polish Air Force]] pilot Lt. Stanislav Sobinski (Robert Stack). Wanting to meet with him when her husband is not around, she tells Sobinski to leave the theater and come backstage while her husband is performing the "to be or not to be" soliloquy from ''{{Hamlet}}''. Sobinski ends up doing this a number of times, always to the same cue. Jozef almost catches them together, but just before it can happen, what all of Poland fears happens instead: Germany invades, and war is declared. Sobinski makes a quick escape to Britain along with his squadron, while the rest of Poland has no choice but to deal with the trials of Nazi occupation.

Some time later, Sobinski, operating with the Polish forces in exile, discovers that a spy is on his way to Warsaw with names of those in the Polish Underground. Given orders to stop the spy by any means necessary, Sobinski parachutes back into Warsaw. The spy has already arrived, but not yet delivered the list to the Gestapo. Having been given shelter by Maria Tura, Sobinski ends up reluctantly drawing her, Jozef, and their acting troupe into a bold scheme to trick the spy into giving the list to Jozef, under the pretense that he is the Gestapo contact the spy is there to see.

''To Be or Not to Be'' was remade 41 years later by Creator/MelBrooks, with himself and his wife Creator/AnneBancroft in the Benny and Lombard parts, here renamed Frederick and Anna Bronski; indeed, many of the characters were renamed or refashioned in this outing (''e.g''., "Stanislav" Sobinski becomes "Andre" Sobinski, Maria's AmbiguouslyJewish female dresser Anna becomes Anna's [[CampGay unambiguously]] [[HoYay gay]] male dresser Sasha, and Brooks' Bronski character takes over the functions of the original film's Dobosz as head of the company and (predictably, if implausibly) the role of the original Bronski (Tom Dugan, who did indeed bear a remarkable resemblance to the dictator) in impersonating UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler. Brooks broadened the original ScrewballComedy to broad farce, with much lampshading and breaking of the fourth wall. Charles Durning was nominated for a best supporting actor AcademyAward for his performance as Colonel Erhardt.

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!!The 1942 movie contains examples of:

* AdolfHitlarious: Invoked, but ultimately averted. During his entrance as Hitler during a rehearsal, Bronski responds to the other actors' salutes of "Heil Hitler" with "Heil myself." He is then promptly yelled at by Dobosz the director for going off-script. Greenberg, the Jewish actor, is in favor of Bronski's ad-lib but gets shut down by Dobosz, who wants their play to be a serious drama. Hitler is never really treated as an object of ridicule, unlike in the remake.
* AnalogyBackfire: The actor Bronski, cast as Hitler in a play, is told by Dobosz the director that he doesn't look convincing as Hitler. To prove the point, Dobosz points to a portrait of Hitler on the set, only to have Bronski point out that the portrait is actually of himself dressed as Hitler. At that point, the director responds "well, then the portrait's wrong too."
* AttemptedRape: Col. Erhardt to Maria.
* BavarianFireDrill: The plot to smuggle the troupe out of Poland hinges on fooling the SS guards into believing that they have just stopped an assassination attempt on "Hitler" (in reality Bronski).
* BeardOfEvil: [[spoiler: Siletsky]]. [[GenreSavvy Even noted by Maria Tura]].
* BigBad: Colonel Erhardt.
* CatchPhrase:
-->'''Jozef Tura''' (disguised as Erhardt): So they call me Concentration Camp Ehrhardt?.
** Also
--> '''Col. Erhardt''': SCHULTZ !!!
* CriticalResearchFailure: In-universe; the German spy gives himself away by not knowing who Maria Tura is, despite her being a hugely famous actress in his supposed hometown.
* DeadPersonImpersonation: After [[spoiler:Siletsky]] is killed by LaResistance, Jozef Tura disguises himself as him to further thwart his plans.
* DoubleTake: When Tura notices dead Siletsky.
* DressingAsTheEnemy: Tura and company does this all the movie.
* EarnYourTitle: Someone nicknamed "Concentration Camp" Erhardt is unlikely to be a good guy.
* TheFaceless: The real Hitler is only seen from behind.
* HitlerAteSugar: Inverted. Colonel Erhardt is openly contemptuous of his aide's teetotalism and non-smoking, until it is pointed out that the Führer has the same habits.
* InMediasRes: The movie opens somewhere in the middle of the story with Hitler in the streets of Warsaw and the narrator asking [[HowWeGotHere how he got there]]. Then we [[{{Flashback}} rewind to the beginning]].
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Both Turas are fairly shallow and egotistical, but with some prodding they both start helping LaResistance.
* LaResistance
* LargeHam: It's about actors, so this is inevitable. Jozef Tura is something of a Large Ham, but the title goes to Rawitch (Lionel Atwill). As the Jewish actor Greenberg (Felix Bressart) [[LampshadeHanging tells him]], "What you are, I wouldn't eat."
** Sig Ruman as Colonel Erhardt is pretty hammy.
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: To one of Creator/WilliamShakespeare's works.
* LoveTriangle
* MistakenForAnImposter: Invoked by Jozef Tura through a bizarre beard transfer with the real Siletsky.
* TheMole: [[spoiler:Siletsky]], although he comes under suspicion by the end of the first scene that features him.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Tura successfully manages to convince Erhardt of his identity as Siletsky, when his friends storm the room and ruin his graceful departure.
* NotSoHarmlessVillain: Erhardt is mostly a comical buffoon like the Nazis of HogansHeroes, but unlike them, it's really clear he is a dangerous, evil man. A good illustration is one scene where he is on to Jozef Tura's disguise and puts him through some psychological torture on the logic that Tura is a clever man. When Erhardt's assistant wonders what to do if Tura isn't clever, Erhardt's response is (paraphrased) "Then we'll break every bone in his body."
* RefugeInAudacity: Tura climaxes his ingenious beard transfer scheme by daring Colonel Erhardt to try and rip off his own (fake) beard which latter declines out of embarrassment.
** The entire climax of the film is one massive and awesomely glorious exercise in this.
* RunningGag: Several of these.
* SpearCarrier: Bronski and Greenberg are this in the acting company, and have a running conversation about it.
* ThoseWackyNazis: Sig Rumann's "Colonel Erhardt" in particular is a buffoon, but you never lose sight of how dangerous he is.
* TitleDrop: Tura reads Creator/WilliamShakespeare's line in the closing scene.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee
* YourCheatingHeart: Early on, even before Sobinski has entered the picture, a line Jozef says to Maria implies that she's been known to dally with other men while married to Jozef.
--> '''Maria:''' It's ridiculous the way you try to grab attention! Whenever I start to tell a story, you finish it. If I go on a diet, you lose the weight. If I have a cold, you cough. [[MisterSeahorse And if we ever have a baby, I'm not so sure I'd be the mother.]]
--> '''Jozef:''' I'm satisfied to be the father.
* ZanyScheme

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!!The 1983 movie contains (in addition to those noted above, unless so noted) examples of:

* AdolfHitlarious: One of the key differences between the original film and the remake is Brooks's willingness to turn Hitler himself into an object of ridicule.
* AttackAttackRetreatRetreat: Between Bronski and [[spoiler: Siletski]]
-->[[spoiler: Siletski]]:(brandishing a gun) Up against that wall!
-->Bronski: Oh, no. I want to see it coming...([[spoiler: Siletski]] points the gun at him) I don't need to see it coming.
* BilingualBonus: During the first few minutes, Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft actually sing (and then argue) in Polish. (See Translator Convention below.) If you actually speak Polish, they both speak in such ridiculous, over-the-top accents that it might make your ears bleed. They essentially speak the way a British or American person would speak if they were to read a piece of Polish text out loud - [[UpToEleven except worse]].
* CampGay: Anna's dresser Sasha is a gay man; he is forced to wear a pink triangle, and later arrested for transportation to a concentration camp.
* CompositeCharacter: Mel Brooks' Bronski is a combination of three different characters from the original film: Jozef Tura (the male protagonist, a self-important husband whose performances of Hamlet keep getting walked out on), Dobosz (the actual head of the company and director of the Nazi play), and Bronski (the actor who plays Hitler).
* CurtainCall: Has one at the end. It begins as part of the Show Within a Show, but then the actors who are not playing actors also come out for a bow.
* {{Flanderization}}: The hamminess and egoism is turned UpToEleven in this film, with Brooks shamelessly mugging in his "Highlights From ''Hamlet''." Frederick in this version is so envious of Anna's fame that he prints her name on the bills ''in parentheses''.
** RunningGag: During the end credits, Anne Bancroft's name is ''also'' in parenthesis. [[PaintingTheMedium (She shoots Mel a dirty look until he 'changes' it.)]] Keep in mind she and Brooks were married.
* IfIDoNotReturn: Subverted when Frederick, disguised as Professor Siletski, has to go to Gestapo Headquarters in a suicide mission and talks to his wife maybe for the last time:
--> '''Frederick Bronski:''' ''Listen, sweetheart, if I don't come back, then I forgive you for anything that happened between you and Lt. Sobinski.''
--> [He opens the door to leave, but turns back]
--> '''Frederick Bronski:''' ''But if I'' do ''come back,'' you're in a lot of trouble!
* HideYourGays: {{Defied}}; Sasha is flamboyantly CampGay, and the film notably deals frankly with the fact that the Nazis persecuted homosexuals as well as Jews.
* ImageSong: '''For Hitler.''' ''See'' MusicVideo, ''below''.
* IncrediblyLamePun: The stage manager is renamed Sondheim, and a novelty act called "Klotzki's Clowns," entirely so that Brooks can at one point exclaim: "[[ShoutOut Sondheim! Send in the Clowns!]]" [[DontExplainTheJoke Need one explain?]]
* LargeHam: No one in this version can come close to Brooks himself.
** Arguably, Charles Dunning is the best competition.
--->'''Erhardt:''' '''''SCHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUULTZ!!!!!!!!!'''''
* LighterAndFluffier: Instead of being dramatic actors, as were the Turas of the original, the Bronskis are glorified vaudeville stars: the Nazi play they are putting on is not a serious play about the Reich, but a mocking musical revue called ''[[ThoseWackyNazis Naughty Nazis]]'' (bearing not a little resemblance to ''Film/TheProducers''' ''Springtime For Hitler'').
* MoodWhiplash: A comedy set in occupied Nazi Poland is obviously going to have a few, but one sequence at the end could really make your neck hurt: There is a comedy set involving clowns one moment, cutting to a touching rendition of Shylock's "Have not a Jew Eyes?" speech from ''Theatre/TheMerchantOfVenice'' when one of the characters gets caught, back to more clowning around as the Jews make an escape, but then a couple breaks down at the sight of a theatre filled with Nazis... [[spoiler: leading to Sasha's CrowningMomentOfAwesome as he manages to rescue the old couple right from under the noses of the Nazi audience.]]
* MusicVideo: The film spawned a video of Brooks (as a rapping, break-dancing Hitler) entitled "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu2NqfISm9k The Hitler Rap]]."
* NeverLiveItDown: In-Universe example: Erhardt's joke about Hitler being named after a pickle. Bronski even plays a little KickTheDog with Erhardt about it.
-->'''Bronski (pretending to be Hitler):''' Aren't you the one who make the joke about... [[{{Angrish}} my becoming... a]] '''''[[{{Angrish}} PICKLE?!]]'''''
* NotYourProblem: This is Bronski's attitude when, at the beginning of the film, he catches a bunch of his actors and crew backstage listening to a radio broadcast of a Hitler speech. When Rawitch points out that German troops are massed at the border, Bronski retorts they should be more concerned with the audience massed out in front of the stage.
-->'''Lupinski:''' But the Ministry of Information says-
-->'''Bronski:''' That's politics! That's their business! We are in the theatre! That's OUR business!
* NWordPrivileges: Mel Brooks, as usual.
-->'''Bronski:''' Face it, without Jews, fags or gypsies, there is no theater.
* SayYourPrayers: When the German air raid on Warsaw starts, the Catholic Dobish, fleeing to the cellar, crosses himself; immediately afterward, the Jewish Bieler signs himself with a Star of David.
* SmallNameBigEgo: In this version, Bronski is willing to aggrandize himself by adapting Creator/WilliamShakespeare into his own "Highlights From ''Hamlet'': "I think I hear the handsome young prince coming now!" Guess who plays the prince?
* PaintingTheMedium: The opening gag where Anna and Frederick perform the entirety of "Sweet Georgia Brown" and briefly argue afterwards in Polish without subtitles before a booming voice announces that the film will switch languages in the interest of clarity.
* ThoseWackyNazis: And given that Creator/MelBrooks is involved, the wackiness goes UpToEleven.
* TranslationConvention: {{Lampshaded}}: The film begins with Frederick and Anna singing and arguing in Polish; a narrator [[PaintingTheMedium (as the Bronskies look up to see where the voice is coming from)]] proclaims "For the purposes of clarity and sanity, the remainder of this film will '''''NOT''''' be in Polish!" The actors take a breath and relax, then proceed in English.
* ZanyScheme: In addition to those in the original film, the costume mistress Gruba asks Bronski to allow her to shelter her cousin in the theater's basement; by the end of the film, one cousin has become Gruba's entire extended family, who must all be smuggled out of the country. Disguised as clowns. And thereafter disguised as Hitler's personal bomb squad.

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