Remake of the 1942 classic black comedy about two Polish actors whose dramatic skills are put to the test when they become involved with invading Nazi troops. — Genre: Feature Film-Comedy — Rating: PG — Release Date: 5-SEP-20... more »06
"When I see the name Mel Brooks on a film title, I think bawdy gags, double-entendres and a bathroom-humor punchline. (But that's me!) This movie was a pleasant change from the usual Brooks offerings with crisp dramatic direction, a good dramatic cast (Ann Bancroft was perfect as the wife with a wandering eye) and a bitter sweet plot. Watching Mel Brooks interact with some accomplished actors, you realize the depth of his talent - he holds his own very well and has a strong screen presence. Although this is a remake of a wonderful 1942 Jack Benny film, Brooks does a great job updating the script for today's audiences. It's not Young Frankenstein or even High Anxiety but it is a nice little movie that any Brooks fan will thoroughly enjoy. As an aside, I think Mel must lay awake at night thinking of ways to poke fun at Nazis in general and Hitler in particular (think Producers, Blazing Saddles...). He does it so well, I hope he never stops."
A Worthwhile Remake
Joe Libby | 12/08/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mel Brooks' remake of TO BE OR NOT TO BE doesn't improve on the Ernst Lubitsch classic, but it's a very enjoyable film in it's own right. Perhaps wisely, the script follows the 1942 original very closely, but the comedy is broader this time and the thriller aspect lessened.Brooks and Anne Bancroft play stars of a Warsaw theatrical troupe in 1939 (A highlight is their duet of "Sweet Georgia Brown," sung in Polish). When Bancroft discovers she is the object of a pilot's affections, it begins a chain of events that has the troupe working to save the underground movement after Hitler invades Poland.Brooks gives one of his very best performances as an actor who uses his skills to outwit the Nazis, while worrying whether or not his wife is having an affair. Bancroft matches him every step of the way, and comes closer than anyone in the cast to achieving "the Lubitsch touch." Charles Durning is also a standout as the notorious "Concentration Camp Ehrhardt."While this film is well worth watching, I also STRONGLY recommend the original Lombard-Benny classic, if you've never seen it. But you won't hear Jack Benny and Carole Lombard sing "Sweet Georgia Brown" in Polish!"
Mel Brooks Best
Top Hat | Kansas City, MO | 01/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is, for me, the best of the Brooks films. How often does one enjoy a re-make as well as the original? Jack Benny and Carol Lombard are wonderful in the 1942 original, a must-see, but I love this version just as much - José Ferrer steals the show along with a host of great modern character actors. This is a more refined, less raw Mel Brooks comedy, with a wonderful homage to the original. Charles Durning is fabulous as well as the entire well-cast cast. I have been patiently waiting to replace my VHS with a DVD version. Hello? How much longer do I have to wait?"
A Mel Brooks remake that is remarkable.
Ristobee | South of LAX | 11/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is an excellent remake of the Jack Benny movie of the same name. Mel Brooks is very funny (as usual) in this movie. However, just about every actor comes close to stealing the show - especially Anne Bancroft. The Mel Brooks lunacy takes a back seat to the storytelling. The director proves that he knows when the story is just as entertaining as the punch lines and gags. Similar to Young Frankenstein, the actors play their roles "seriously" and the dialogue and situations showcase the humor. In addition, just as a good drama has a touch of humor, this comedy has a little drama. That is one of the elements that make this one of my very favorite Mel Brooks films."
A tour de force against racism and in favor of comedy
Jonathan A. Biatch | Madison, Wisconsin | 08/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My children, now ages 12 and 9, have loved this film for the last six years, since the day we allowed them to watch it. The Nazis are not the bumbling dimwits of "Hogan's Heroes," but they are not quite as smart as Mel Brooks's Fredric Bronski. The characters are enjoyable and ultimately lovable: Brooks as the self-absorbed and not-quite-successful head of a rag-tag Polish vaudeville troupe; Anne Bancroft as his aging but flirtatious (and much better received) performing wife, and a wonderful ensemble cast to support each other. There is adventure, excitement, subtle and highbrow comedy, and as one might expect from Mel Brooks, victory over the Nazis. The theatre troupe is ultimately successful in its mission to stop a traitorous Polish spy, but when Brooks disguises himself as the spy to complete the mission, the movie really takes off. There is some sexual innuendo, as well as some slang references to homosexuals, so parents: be cautious. But as an introduction to Brooks, as a glimpse into the Nazi preoccupation with the conquering of Europe and the Final Solution, it is a winner."