A troupe of Warsaw actors makes a mockery of the Nazis’ expansionist regime in this 1942 comedy of disguise by the brilliant German-Jewish émigré filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch, which was adapted from a story by a fellow émigré, the Hungarian writer Melchior Lengyel, In 1939, just prior to the German invasion of Poland, a theater company finds itself out of work when the authorities shut down their Nazi satire for fear of Third Reich retribution. However, the actors’ talents are put to use when they become entangled in the operations of the Polish underground resistance following the German’s invasion. With its comical love triangle between a narcissistic stage actress (Carole Lombard in her final film), her ham actor-husband (an uproarious Jack Benny) and a Polish RAF pilot (a very young Robert Stack), To Be Or Not To Be, though condemned for bad taste at the time, is a work of remarkable levity from a very dark time. 99 min.
Part of the Emory Cinematheque series “Resisting Fascism.” Each film in the series will be introduced by Paul Buchholz, assistant professor of German Studies, with contributions from other faculty in Emory’s Department of German Studies.
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