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A Foreign Affair (1948)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  20 August 1948 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 4,040 users  
Reviews: 40 user | 26 critic

In occupied Berlin, an army captain is torn between an ex-Nazi cafe singer and the U.S. congresswoman investigating her.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: A Foreign Affair (1948)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Originally made with a German soundtrack for screening in occupied Germany and Austria, this film was the first documentary to show what the Allies found when they liberated the Nazi ... See full summary »

Director: Billy Wilder
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Peter von Zerneck ...
Hans Otto Birgel
Stanley Prager ...
Mike
William Murphy ...
Joe (as Bill Murphy)
Raymond Bond ...
Pennecot
Boyd Davis ...
Giffin
Robert Malcolm ...
Kramer
Charles Meredith ...
Yandell
Michael Raffetto ...
Salvatore
Damian O'Flynn ...
Lieutenant Colonel
Frank Fenton ...
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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Future director Gerd Oswald, then assistant to Billy Wilder, said it was rumoured that Marlene Dietrich was having an affair with everyone, particularly "a couple of muscle-men stunt guys she just devoured." John Lund called her a "mixture of siren and homebody, gracious, unfailingly professional and funny," and related a story about Winston Churchill's son, Randolph, making such a pest of himself pursuing Dietrich on a visit to the set that Wilder's wife finally threw a glass of wine at him. 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: [singing] Want to buy some illusions? Slightly used, just like new. Such romantic illusions, and they're all about you. I sell them all for a penny, they make pretty souvenirs. Take my lovely illusions, some for laughs, some for tears.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Take Me Home Tonight (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Black Market
(uncredited)
Written by Friedrich Hollaender
Sung by Marlene Dietrich
See more »

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User Reviews

 
an excellent film
3 January 2005 | by (Sydney Australia) – See all my reviews

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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