To Be or Not to Be (1983 film)
|To Be or Not to Be|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alan Johnson|
|Produced by||Mel Brooks|
|Screenplay by||Ronny Graham
|Story by||Melchior Lengyel
|Based on||To Be or Not to Be
by Edwin Justus Mayer
|Narrated by||Scott Beach|
|Music by||John Morris|
|Edited by||Alan Balsam|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$13 million|
To Be or Not to Be is a 1983 American war comedy film directed by Alan Johnson and produced by Mel Brooks. The screenplay was written by Ronny Graham and Thomas Meehan, based on the original story by Melchior Lengyel, Ernst Lubitsch and Edwin Justus Mayer. A remake of the 1942 film of the same name, the film starred Mel Brooks alongside his wife Anne Bancroft; Tim Matheson, Charles Durning, Christopher Lloyd, and José Ferrer also had starring roles.
- Mel Brooks as Frederick Bronski
- Anne Bancroft as Anna Bronski
- Charles Durning as S.S. Colonel Erhardt
- Christopher Lloyd as S.S. Captain Schultz
- Tim Matheson as Lieutenant Andrei Sobinski
- José Ferrer as Professor Siletski
- Ronny Graham as Sondheim, Stage Manager
- Estelle Reiner as Gruba
- Jack Riley as Dobish
- Lewis J. Stadlen as Lupinsky
- George Gaynes as Ravitch
- George Wyner as Ratkowski
- Earl Boen as Dr. Boyarski
- Ivor Barry as General Hobbs
- William Glover as Major Cunningham
- James Haake as Sasha
- Marley Sims as Rifka
- Max Brooks as Rifka's son
- Larry Rosenberg as Rifka's husband
- Milt Jamin as Gestapo soldier
- Wolf Muser as Desk sergeant
- Henry Brandon as Nazi officer
- Tucker Smith as Klotski's Klown
- Curt Lowens as Airport officer
- Terence Marsh as Startled British officer
- Paul Ratliff as Naval officer
- Scott Beach as Narrator
Connections with the original
This remake was mostly faithful to the 1942 film on which it was based and, in many cases, dialogue was taken verbatim from the earlier film. The characters of Bronski and Joseph Tura are, however, combined into a single character (played by Brooks). The character of the treacherous Professor Siletsky (here spelled Siletski) was made into a more comic, even somewhat buffoonish, figure; in the original he was the only completely serious character. Instead of having the company preparing for Hamlet, Bronski performs his "world famous, in Poland" highlights from Hamlet, including the To Be Or Not To Be soliloquy, from which the film's name is taken. His dresser, Anna, has been replaced with Sasha, allowing them to address the plight of gay people under the Nazis, as well as the Jews.
Roger Ebert's film review stated that in the film, Mel Brooks "combines a backstage musical with a wartime romance and comes up with an eclectic comedy that races off into several directions, usually successfully."
However, the film was not a great commercial success, grossing only $13,030,214.
For his performance as Colonel Erhardt, Charles Durning was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. At the 41st Golden Globe Awards, Durning was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Anne Bancroft was nominated for Best Actress – Comedy or Musical.
- "TO BE OR NOT TO BE (PG)". 20th Century Fox. British Board of Film Classification. November 16, 1983. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
- Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p260
- To Be or Not to Be at Box Office Mojo
- Canby, Vincent. The New York Times film review, December 16, 1983. Last accessed: January 30, 2011.
- Ebert, Roger. Chicago Sun Times film review, December 16, 1983. Last accessed: January 30, 2011.
- To Be or Not to Be at Rotten Tomatoes
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