Walter Matthau plays a professional killer going by the name of Trabucco, who is on his way to rub out gangster Rudy "Disco" Gambola, set to testify against the mob. As Trabucco heads off ... See full summary »
Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.
June, 1942. The British Army, retreating ahead of victorious Rommel, leaves a lone survivor on the Egyptian border--Corporal John Bramble, who finds refuge at a remote desert hotel...soon to be German HQ. To survive, Bramble assumes an identity which proves perilous. The new guest of honor is none other than Rommel, hinting of his secret strategy, code-named 'five graves.' And the fate of the British in Egypt depends on whether a humble corporal can penetrate the secret... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
On the first day that director Billy Wilder's hero, Erich von Stroheim arrived on set, Wilder ran to the wardrobe department to welcome him. He said: "This is a very big moment in my life . . . that I should now be directing the great Stroheim. Your problem, I guess, was that you were ten years ahead of your time." Von Stroheim replied: "Twenty." See more »
When John Bramble is introduced to the Germans as Paul Davos, a calendar is behind him on the wall. It is a 1942 calendar but shows Saturday, July 4th in red as a holiday...which of course is not a holiday in Egypt. See more »
[Sebastiano, an Italian general, has just learned that he has been assigned to a hotel room with no running water by the condescending German officers]
Another kick in the face! They let us die, but they don't let us wash! Well, what did we expect? As we say in Milano, "When you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas!"
Cpl. John J. Bramble:
That's right, sir.
[Sebastiano looks at Bramble, nervously]
You haven't heard anything...
Cpl. John J. Bramble:
Of course not, sir. From so far away, how can I hear what they say in ...
[...] See more »
Can Billy Wilder do no wrong? Except for the last few minutes, which are strictly WWII propaganda, this film is the goods. Franchot Tone's tone is at once sardonic and dutiful, a combination that brings out the irony of the situation he finds himself in when he stumbles into a bombed out hotel in the middle of the desert. It is the height of the war in North Africa, the British have retreated into Egypt, the German/Italian army is on the move, and there is intrigue in the air. There are other excellent performances by Anne Baxter and Akim Tamiroff and a scene reminiscent of "La Grande illusion," where Field Marshal Rommel, played with swagger and arrogance by Erich von Stroheim, entertains several British POW officers. Wilder handles the material deftly, his timing never falters, as the mystery and the tension build. As for those last few minutes, well, this film came out at the height of the war, so I'll forgive the propaganda excesses.
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