7.4/10
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49 user 28 critic

A Foreign Affair (1948)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 20 August 1948 (USA)
In occupied Berlin, an army captain is torn between an ex-Nazi café singer and the U.S. congresswoman investigating her.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Peter von Zerneck ...
Stanley Prager ...
Mike
...
Joe (as Bill Murphy)
Raymond Bond ...
Pennecot
Boyd Davis ...
Giffin
Robert Malcolm ...
Kramer
Charles Meredith ...
Yandell
Michael Raffetto ...
Salvatore
...
Lieutenant Colonel
...
Major Mathews
James Lorimer ...
Lieutenant Hornby (as James Larmore)
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It would make a cigar store Indian laugh ...

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

20 August 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La mundana  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the big clashes Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett had on this picture was over Marlene Dietrich's first scene. She is introduced in her bombed-out shell of an apartment, brushing her teeth, and when John Lund comes near her, she spits in his face. Brackett was so offended by the scene and by Wilder's flippant defence of it that he threw a phone book at the director's head. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Erika von Schluetow: [Referring to Miss Frost] I see you do not believe in lipstick. And what a curious way to to do your hair or rather not to do it.
Captain John Pringle: Now, wait a minute! Do you know who you're talking to?
Erika von Schluetow: An American woman. And I'm a little disappointed, to tell you the truth. We apparently have a false idea about the chic American woman. Oh, I suppose that's publicity in Hollywood.
See more »


Soundtracks

The Ruins of Berlin
(uncredited)
Written by Friedrich Hollaender
Sung by Marlene Dietrich
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User Reviews

 
Just one of Wilder's all-time best films
30 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of Billy Wilder's least known films...and one of his best. A brilliant, cynical comedy about post-war Berlin goings on...black market, Army officers having affairs with notorious ex-Nazis, etc.

It stars Marlene Dietrich (one of her all-time best performances), and amazing Jean Arthur (in one of her final films), and newcomer John Lund, who was rather wooden in later performances...here, he's terrific.

Songs and musical score by Frederick Hollander...who's actually present playing piano. The three songs Dietrich sings, "Black Market", "Illusions" and "Ruins of Berlin" are lyrically integral to the plot and represent three of best songs written for a non-musical film of the late 1940's.

There's some serious plot points underneath the cynical comedy.

Wish to heck Universal would open their vaults and release it on DVD in the US; thankfully it's available in the UK (get an all-region DVD player...I did!).

It's an absolutely essential late 1940's comedy and in my opinion, one of Billy Wilder's best comedies.

Remember....Wilder's next film was "Sunset Boulevard".


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