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>
While serving with the United States Army in Germany during World War II, Billy Wilder was promised government assistance if he made a film about Allied-occupied Germany, and he took advantage of the offer by developing this film with Charles Brackett and Richard L. Breen. Erich Pommer, who was responsible for the rebuilding of the German film industry, placed what was left of the facilities at Universum Film AG at Wilder's disposal. 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 »
Really, Colonel Plummer... you should have your brakes relined!
Col. Rufus J. Plummer:
[as she leaves, he scratches his nose with the middle finger, apparently flipping her off. it WAS Billy Wilder, after all]
See more »
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".
33 of 38 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?