A congressional committee visits occupied Berlin to investigate G.I. morals. Congresswoman Phoebe Frost, appalled at widespread evidence of human frailty, hears rumors that cafe singer Erika, former mistress of a wanted war criminal, is "protected" by an American officer, and enlists Captain John Pringle to help her find him...not knowing that Pringle is Erika's lover. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
"Theater Guild on the Air" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 4, 1951 with Marlene Dietrich reprising her film role. See more »
Though the character played by Jean Arthur is an 'unmarried' American Congresswoman, the actress's real life wedding ring is visible in many scenes especially close-ups during the latter part of the film. See more »
This is a well written (Brackett and Breen) and directed (Billy Wilder) film with great performances. Marlene Dietrich is impressive as the Nazi chanteuse with loose morals, great legs and an eye for the main chance. Her songs e.g. Ruins of Berlin are sardonic and compelling. Jean Arthur is irresistible as the frustrated Congresswoman, throwing herself at John Lund with enthusiasm and gradually coming to see human behaviour in shades of grey, rather than black and white.
John Lund is very good as the cynical army officer, attracted to Dietrich while repelled by her politics and prepared to romance Arthur in order to bury Dietrich's Nazi past. He has a nice way with underplayed humour e.g. "It can't be subversive to kiss a Republican!" Supporting actors, especially Millard Mitchell as Col Plummer are all good.
Berlin makes a bleak impressive backdrop, making the behaviour of the occupying troops and the Berliners easy to understand. There are some lovely vignettes e.g. the German woman pushing a pram decorated with the US flag.
Unfortunately the film was perceived as unpatriotic by many critics and did not do as much for the career of John Lund as it should.
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