During the Nazi occupation of Poland, an acting troupe becomes embroiled in a Polish soldier’s efforts to track down a German spy.
“To Be or Not to Be” is a 1972 comedy film directed by Alan Johnson, and starring Mel Brooks, Anne Bancroft, and Tim Matheson. The movie is a remake of the 1942 film of the same name and follows a theater company in Nazi-occupied Warsaw as they use their acting skills to fool the Nazis and help the resistance.
Overall, “To Be or Not to Be” is a well-made and entertaining comedy that effectively balances humor and suspense. Mel Brooks, who also co-wrote the script, is excellent in his role as the pompous actor Frederick Bronski, and Anne Bancroft is equally impressive as his wife and fellow performer, Anna Bronski.
The film is able to successfully make light of a very serious and dark time in history, without ever becoming tasteless or insensitive. The humor is often witty and clever, with several laugh-out-loud moments throughout the movie. At the same time, the film never forgets the gravity of the situation, and there are several moments of tension and drama that help to balance out the comedy.
The supporting cast is also strong, with standout performances from Tim Matheson as the young pilot who gets caught up in the theater company’s schemes, and Charles Durning as the bumbling Nazi colonel who is tasked with tracking down the resistance.
Overall, “To Be or Not to Be” is a highly enjoyable and well-made comedy that manages to tackle a difficult subject matter with sensitivity and skill. It’s a must-watch for fans of Mel Brooks and anyone looking for a good laugh.