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To Be Or Not To Be

November 28, 2020

78 years ago…


Most of have seen the 1942 film “To Be Or Not To Be.” This classic starred Jack Benny and Carole Lombard along with Robert Stack. It has since been remade by Mel Brooks (1983).

For me the film is perhaps more memorable because my father Gene Rizzi played a small part in the movie as a Polish airman. That’s my father behind Carole Lombard in the publicity photo.

Although the film is a mixed comedy / drama, the question in Europe in 1942 was indeed “to be or not to be.” Nazi Germany tried hard to make it the latter. Seven decades on, I still find this film poignant and comical but with a twinge of nostalgia for pre-war Europe or what has been often described as its golden age. My father was in Europe during the run-up to the second world war as a young violinist with the Vienna…

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