NI Film Series: To Be or Not to Be


Location: Browning Cinema, DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

To Be or Not to Be

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Not Rated, 99 minutes
Starring: Jack Benny, Carole Lombard, Robert Stack

Created at the height of Germany’s power during the Second World War, To Be or Not to Be is an anti-Nazi satire set in occupied Warsaw, centering on the resistance of a Polish theater company and the ham antics of its narcissistic husband and wife stars (Benny and Lombard). Ernst Lubitsch managed to pull off the impossible in this witty, sophisticated comedy, successfully satirizing Hitler and the Nazi party without wallowing in bad taste. Benny provides a memorable turn as a would be Hamlet.

Doug Lanier

The film will be introduced by Douglas Lanier, Professor of English and Director of the London Program at the University of New Hampshire. He’s written widely on the adaptation of Shakespeare in modern popular culture in its many forms, with an emphasis on film. In 2002 he published Shakespeare and Modern Popular Culture (Oxford University Press). His essays have appeared in a number of journals and collections, including Shakespeare, Theory and Performance; Shakespeare the Movie; The Blackwell Companion to Shakespeare and Performance; the Cambridge Companions for Shakespeare and Popular Culture and Literature on Screen; Shakespeare in American Life; the Routledge Companion to Directors; and the Oxford Handbook to Shakespeare, among others. He’s also worked as a contributing editor on several encyclopedia projects, including Shakespeares after Shakespeare, where he edited the film section (and watched over 900 films!); the 5-volume Shakespeare Encyclopedia, edited by Patricia Parker and to be released December 2009; and currently the Cambridge World Shakespeare Encyclopedia.

His latest article is on the history of Shakespeare’s use in advertising. He’s currently at work on a book about Othello on film
and an edition of Timon of Athens. He also collects Shakespeare film memorabilia.

Co-sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, Shakespeare at Notre Dame and the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Tickets: $6, $5 faculty/staff, $4 seniors, and $3 all students
Call 574-631-2800 or visit